Getting arrested for a DUI is never a pleasant experience. Unfortunately, for many Floridians, the nightmare of getting a DUI has become a reality. In fact, in 2017, 43,899 people found themselves in hot water after drinking and getting behind the wheel.
Any time you get arrested, there are specific procedures that police offers must follow in order to make sure your constitutional rights haven’t been violated. One of these procedures requires that police officers read you the Miranda warning upon arrest. Failure to read the Miranda warning can lead to serious repercussions.
Want to learn more about your Miranda rights? Read on to learn all about them!
What Exactly Are Miranda Rights?
Your Miranda rights are all the rights enumerated in the Miranda warning. If you’ve ever watched TV, you’ve probably seen at least one show where a police officer handcuffs the suspect and says “you have the right to remain silent.” This is just the beginning of the Miranda warning.
The Miranda warning became mandatory following the 1966 US Supreme Court decision in Miranda v. Arizona. The Court found that the defendant’s Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights had been violated following his arrest. Essentially, police are required to apprise defendants of their specific rights before any attempt to interrogate them.
So what are your Miranda rights?
First, you have the right to remain silent during interrogation, and you also have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, then the state will appoint a public defender to your case. The police must also notify you that any statements you make during interrogation can and will be used against you in court.
Lastly, police must verify that you understand the rights contained in the Miranda warning before questioning you. This question almost never makes onto the big screen, but it’s super important.
Where do these rights originate? Miranda rights originate from the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the US Constitution. The Fifth Amendment protects you from self-incrimination and the Sixth Amendment gives you the right to an attorney.
At What Point Are Police Required to Read Me My Rights?
Police must read you your Miranda rights when you are taken into custody or they interrogate you.
What is custody? Custody refers to custodial arrest. A custodial arrest occurs anytime police formally arrest you and restrict your freedom. You are also in custody any time police significantly restrict your freedom and you feel like you cannot leave.
A custodial arrest is very different from non-custodial arrest which occurs pretty much any time you receive a ticket for things like speeding or running a stop sign.
An interrogation occurs when police begin a line of questioning that is likely to make you admit guilt or give an answer that incriminates you. There is an important distinction between interrogation and questioning prior to custodial arrest. Questioning prior to arrest is meant to determine whether there is probable cause to arrest you.
Essentially, if the police are putting you in cuffs and loading you in the squad car, then you’ve been arrested. At that point, police must read you your Miranda rights before they ask you any questions that could lead to an incriminating response.
That doesn’t mean they can’t ask you any questions at all if they haven’t read you your rights. They can ask you any question that won’t lead to an incriminating response, such as “what’s your attorney’s phone number?”
What Happens If Police Fail to Read My Miranda Rights?
In an ideal world, if police fail to uphold their duties, then the case would be tossed. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Most of the time, if police interrogate you after you’ve been taken into custody, the state will simply not be able to use the statements they got from you as evidence in the case.
This could be a break for you if the only evidence police have of your DUI is an incriminating statement they obtained illegally. But if the state has other evidence, they will have to rely on only that evidence and not your statement in order to make their case.
It is important to note that you must assert your right to an attorney and your right to remain silent. If you assert your right to remain silent and police put you back in holding, then begin questioning you again a few days later, you must assert your right to remain silent again. But if you ask for an attorney the first time they question you, then the police cannot question you without that attorney present.
Bottom line, never make a statement to police that could incriminate you. If you’ve been arrested, be sure to ask for an attorney and stay silent until one arrives. If police continue to question you after you have asserted your right to remain silent or asked for an attorney, then they are in violation of the law.
Know Your Rights
Your Miranda rights are an important thing. They’re so important that the United States Supreme Court mandated that every time police take a suspect into custody, they have to read the suspect their rights and make sure that the suspect understands them.
Although failure to read you your rights isn’t likely to get your case tossed, it does increase the likelihood that any statements the police get from you post-arrest are tossed. Because DUI arrests come with severe penalties, such as mandating repeat offenders install an interlock driving system on their car, it’s important to know when your rights kick in.
Were you arrested for a DUI? Even if the police read you the Miranda warning, it’s important to have a good attorney on your side. Contact us today for a free consultation!