How Miranda Rights Influence a DUI Case

Various misconceptions exist when it comes to the influence of Miranda rights in a DUI case. Some believe that if you are not read your rights, anything you say cannot be used against you in a subsequent criminal case. Some people believe that a Miranda warning must be given for any resulting DUI charges to be considered valid.

Because every case is different depending on the circumstances surrounding a DUI arrest and questioning, we have included basic information about Miranda rights and DUI charges to dispel any confusion on the relationship between these two matters.

The Miranda warning, also referred to as Miranda rights or Miranda rule, is a warning given to suspects in police custody. This warning is meant to protect suspects from compelled self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

It was established in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966) in a Supreme Court decision which held that statements made during police interrogation were only admissible at trial if the defendant was informed of, and understood their right to remain silent and consult with an attorney.

This is now a part of routine police procedure across the United States. Though the wording may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the basic outline of Miranda rights are as follows: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will 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 provided for you.”

In California, police will add the following, or a similar statement: “Do you understand these rights as I have read them to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak with me?”

Miranda Warning in a DUI Case

In California DUI cases, a Miranda warning must be issued if a driver is taken into custody and interrogated. If you are not arrested or are not interrogated, and your Miranda rights are not read to you, you are not necessarily protected against self-incrimination. Your statements may only be inadmissible in court if you were not read your Miranda rights and:

  • You were taken into custody, and
  • You were interrogated.

If you were taken into custody but were not interrogated (formally questioned) after your arrest, and yet you made potentially incriminating statements, the fact that you were not read your Miranda rights may not matter. The same may apply if you were arrested and the officer proceeded to have a "casual" conversation with you, and you made incriminating statements. These may still be used against you even if you were not read your rights.

A ‘Failed Miranda Warning’ May Help You

A failed Miranda warning may affect the outcome of a DUI case if the driver was taken into custody and interrogated without being read his or her rights. If the driver made incriminating statements, these may be considered inadmissible.

It is important to note that only the driver's statements would be inadmissible, not necessarily other evidence against the driver, such as breath or blood test, field sobriety test results, or an officer's testimony regarding the DUI defendant’s behavior etc.

The only way to effectively challenge DUI charges is to thoroughly investigate the case and apply every possible defense on a driver's behalf. At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc., we provide high quality defense counsel in the face of complex DUI charges.

We understand how Miranda rights may influence a DUI case and can challenge charges based off this or other strategies. For more information, contact an Orange County DUI lawyer at our firm!

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