Driving while intoxicated is incredibly dangerous, and it results in about 37 deaths every day in the US. It’s something you should always avoid, but if you do make this mistake, it’s important to understand what comes next.
A DUI arrest can be a difficult time. All of the legal elements are very complicated, but knowing your rights could help you out a lot. Most people believe that a police officer must read you your Miranda rights immediately after an arrest, but this isn’t the case.
In this guide, we’ll take a detailed look at Miranda warnings so you can get a better understanding of what they mean and why they’re important. Keep reading for more.
What Are Miranda Warnings?
Miranda rights are warnings that police need to read to a person before they can interrogate them. They apply in all cases, including a DUI arrest, and they’re to help protect against self-incrimination. The following two conditions need to be met:
- The suspect is in custody and not free to leave
- Law enforcement wants to conduct a custodial interrogation
The police don’t need to read someone their Miranda rights if the suspect is free to leave or isn’t being interrogated.
What Words Are in a Miranda Warning?
When reading someone their Miranda rights, there isn’t a specific wording that a police officer must follow. They can use any words as long as they make the suspect’s rights clear. A typical reading will contain phrasing such as:
- You have the right to remain silent
- Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law
- You have the right to an attorney
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you before any questioning if you wish
In many cases, the officer will ask a suspect if they want to waive their Miranda rights and talk to them. A suspect can then choose whether or not to do this.
Do the Police Need to Read Rights During a DUI Traffic Stop and Investigation?
A DUI investigation is everything that takes place after a driver is stopped but before they’re arrested. This may happen at a DUI sobriety checkpoint or when they’re pulled over.
The police don’t need to read someone their Miranda rights during this. They’ll typically ask for some details like the driver’s license and registration, as well as questions that may help them determine if the driver is under the influence of alcohol.
Florida DUI laws state that a driver can remain silent throughout an entire DUI traffic stop if they choose. They don’t need to have their Miranda rights read for this to apply. They do, however, have to show their license and registration if asked.
Even after a DUI arrest, the police don’t need to read a driver their Miranda rights; the officer must only do so once they start a “custodial interrogation”.
How Does Someone Invoke Miranda Rights?
As stated above, a driver can invoke their Miranda rights and remain silent even if the officer hasn’t yet read them. However, the driver must state that they’re doing so; remaining silent won’t suffice.
This doesn’t require specific wording, it just needs to be clear and affirmative. They can say something along the lines of “I am invoking my right to remain silent” or “I want to have a lawyer present before I speak”.
It’s worth noting that choosing to remain silent could be introduced as evidence of guilt. A good practice is to say firmly and clearly:
- “I’m invoking my right to remain silent”
- “I would like to speak to a lawyer” (personal Florida DUI lawyer or public defender)
- Say nothing else until your lawyer is present
How Can Someone Waive Their Miranda Rights?
After reading a driver their Miranda rights, an officer will usually ask the driver if they understand them all. They’ll then ask if the driver wants to talk to them (this is a Miranda waiver).
Again, this doesn’t require specific wording, it just needs to be clear. It’s worth noting that a waiver can be “implied” depending on a driver’s behavior. This includes making a statement after being read their Miranda rights, as it shows they’re willing to talk when they know they don’t have to.
Can Someone Change His or Her Mind After Waiving Their Rights?
Even if someone has already waived their Miranda rights, they can change their mind and invoke them at any point. Any statements a driver makes after invoking their rights will be inadmissible, but statements made before invoking their rights may be admissible. It’s vital to remember that a driver can invoke their Miranda rights at any time, even if they’ve already agreed to answer questions.
What Happens in the Event of a Miranda Violation in a DUI Case?
A Miranda rights violation can often work in favor of a driver in their case. A DUI defense attorney may be able to use this to file a motion to suppress the evidence. If a judge grants such a motion, any evidence from statements the driver made after the violation will be excluded.
There are several ways in which someone’s Miranda rights may be violated, such as:
- The police failed to give any warning
- Law enforcement continued to question the driver after they requested a lawyer
- The police continue to question a driver after they invoke their right to remain silent
- They don’t read a driver their rights before beginning a custodial interrogation
- The police coerce or threaten a driver in order to induce them to waive rights.
A violation doesn’t necessarily mean that all statements will be thrown out. Anything said during a DUI investigation, of the driver’s own accord (not in response to an interrogation), or after the driver waived their Miranda rights may still be admissible.
What to Do if You’re Charged With a DUI
Understanding the above can be incredibly helpful. When dealing with Miranda warnings, the more you understand, the better. With that in mind, you’ll still want to seek professional legal assistance.
RHINO Lawyers is a professional law firm based in Tampa, FL. With over 600 5-star reviews on Google, you know we’re one of the most reliable options around. Contact us today to request a free case review.
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