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Common Questions about DUI Arrests and Miranda Rights

When Does A Miranda Right Come Into Play? Do people Automatically Assume and Say, “I wasn’t read my Miranda rights,” Thinking That the Officer Committed an Error?

Miranda rights is another issue that gives way to misconception. A client will come and say to their attorney, “Well, they didn’t read me my Miranda rights, so I should get my case thrown out.” The police do not have to actually read you your Miranda rights until they take you into custody, which means the point at which a reasonable person would feel they are no longer free to leave. Legally, that means something different than what most people would think of in the real world.

Most people think, “Well, if a police officer pulls me over and starts asking me questions on the roadside, I’m not free to leave” but the Supreme Court of the United States has actually said they can come up to your car, they can ask you questions and they can do an initial investigation. If they do not actually restrain you, then typically you are not under arrest. However, if you say, “Am I free to leave?” and they say, “No,” then at that point they are required to read Miranda. Therefore, if you get pulled over for a DUI investigation, it is probably a good idea right at the beginning to ask the officer, “Am I free to leave?” That way if they say, “No”, they have to read you your Miranda rights.

If An Officer Takes You Into Custody and You are not free To Leave and He Does not Read You Your Miranda Rights, Does That Mean the Case Will Automatically Get Thrown Out?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. What it actually means is that the statements you make after the point at which you are no longer free to leave are inadmissible in court. The state cannot use those against you in court with some very limited exceptions. The state cannot use any evidence that they wouldn’t have obtained if those statements were never uttered either. In some cases, it will result in your case getting thrown out, because maybe you admitted to drinking after you should have had Miranda and did not. Then your attorney can get that statement thrown out. If that statement was the only basis they had to conduct further investigation, then it’s possible to get all the evidence thrown out. More commonly, there are other bases the Officer’s rely on to conduct their investigation, so there will usually be admissible evidence left, even when Miranda rights were violated. Sometimes that will be sufficient to sustain a conviction and sometimes it won’t. This is something that can only be determined on a case by case basis by an attorney who really understands the law and is skilled at arguing it.

If you Need Answers to Common Questions about DUI Arrests and Miranda Rights in Arizona DUI Cases, call the law office of Tait & Hall for a FREE Initial Consultation at (480) 405-6767 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

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