The most frequent question that clients ask me is, “The cop never read me, Miranda. So, my case will be dismissed, right?”. A violation of Miranda does not dismiss a case; it suppresses statements. If there is a Miranda violation, and the only evidence in a case is a confession, the case will be dismissed. This is because once the confession is suppressed, there is no evidence to support a conviction. However, if there is additional evidence to support a conviction, and there is a violation of Miranda, the case will proceed. The case will proceed without the statements that were taken in violation of Miranda.
Miranda Rights Violations in a DUI Case
In short, the Miranda is a type of warning given by the police officer once they are arresting you that you have the right to remain silent, to not self-incriminate, and to have the right to an attorney. For example, in a murder case where the only evidence to the crime is a confession that was taken in violation of Miranda, the case will be dismissed. In a DUI case, if the defendant was weaving all over the road, they had poor balance, failed the field sobriety tests, had a blood test well over the legal limit. And they made a confession to being drunk in violation of Miranda? The case would not be dismissed. The case would proceed without the confession because there is other evidence to support a conviction. Separate means of attack would be required to undermine the additional State’s evidence.
What Constitutes a Violation of Miranda?
Two things are required to violate Miranda:
- That you are in custody.
- That you are being asked substantive questions.
Those two things require the Miranda warnings to be read before a defendant is questioned. A great way to think of custody are handcuffs. You are not free to leave. Keep in mind, being handcuffed in and of itself is not enough to trigger a Miranda warning. Remember, there are two parts to the equation. The second part substantive questioning requires questions that are asked that would likely trigger exculpatory answers. Therefore, a question about how the Met’s are doing would not suffice. However, a question about how many drinks you had, in a DUI case, would suffice.
Spontaneous statements by a defendant do not violate Miranda because those statements were not a result of questioning. For example, if you blurt out, I killed Joe Smith that is not in violation of Miranda. However, after you are in custody, and the police ask you if you killed Joe Smith, and you had not been read Miranda, that is a Miranda violation.
What to Do if You Were Arrested and Not Read Your Miranda
If you are stopped or arrested for DUI/DWI, the best way to avoid a conviction is to know and to assert your rights. Your rights to remain silent, to not self-incriminate, and to have a DUI defense attorney assisting you are central to protecting yourself. You will not explain your way out of the situation. You won’t convince them to let you go. After you ask for an attorney, invoke your right to remain silent and stop talking! We always say this is the best thing to do to help in your case defense, as we see a lot of clients who think they will explain their way out of the situation and convince them to let them go. It is a common misconception people believe that if they are arrested and not “read their rights,” they can escape punishment. Keep our phone number saved as you will need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side if you have been arrested. Or if you believe during your recent arrest that your Miranda has been violated, our DUI defense attorneys have the experience in handling claims related to Miranda. At Rosenstein Law Group, our legal team review every detail of the case against you to identify the areas of weakness that can be exploited for your defense. Call today at 480-248-7666.