We can thank Hollywood for teaching the vast majority of people their Miranda rights:
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 speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense.
This should be recited to you at the time of arrest if you will be taken in for questioning. You may think that adhering to your right to remain silent only makes a difference with felonies, but watching what you say is important even for charges like DUI if you were involved in an accident of any sort.
The Purpose of Miranda Rights
Being read your Miranda rights serves as a reminder of your rights as a suspected criminal. The right to remain silent and the right to an attorney just scratch the surface.
Miranda rights are so-called because of a case involving Ernesto Miranda. At the time of Miranda’s arrest, it was up to each individual citizen to be aware of their rights when suspected of a crime. Miranda confessed to his crime, but because he had been unaware of his right to remain silent, his lawyer attempted to expel that testimony from the court as unlawful. Shortly after, the Supreme Court devised a set of parameters to be recited at an arrest to serve as a reminder to the Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights.
You May Not Be Read Miranda Rights During A DUI Arrest
If you’re wondering if correct procedure was followed during your DUI arrest because you were never read your Miranda rights, don’t get too excited: Miranda rights are not often read for DUI arrests. Miranda rights only apply when you are to be questioned or interrogated by the police.
DUI evidence is rather black and white: your BAC level speaks for itself and tells the judge whether or not you were truly driving while under the influence of alcohol.
How Speaking Up Can Get You Into Trouble
However, it’s still wise to follow your Miranda rights. If you have not been read your rights and are a little worried that your steadfast silence will be seen as suspicious, simply state that your lawyer has advised you not to comment without his or her presence.
You can also refuse to take any test to determine your BAC, but know that if you do take this test and are found to be under the legal limit, you cannot be arrested for DUI. However, according to Romano Law, P.C., you will be arrested for DUI if you refuse the test. It will then be up to your lawyer to try to get the charge dismissed.
But let’s say that your senses were impaired by a substance other than alcohol. Maybe you took illicit drugs. Or perhaps you have new prescriptions that have dangerous side effects. Even mixing prescriptions and a small amount of alcohol can severely impair one’s senses.
By telling the officers about the number of drinks you had or the kinds of drugs you took, whether legal or not, you could be sealing your fate for a guilty charge. Let your lawyer navigate this terrain for you. Think about it this way: it is the police’s job to find you guilty, and it’s your lawyer’s job to find you innocent. Let them do their jobs; don’t make it easier for the police to find you guilty, and don’t try to do your lawyer’s job for you!
Finally, it’s worth noting that if you have lost control of your faculties thanks to alcohol or drugs, you may not even remember that you have Miranda rights and how to use them to your advantage. Some folks are loud and talkative when they are drunk. Just know that if you’re truly that drunk, your case already doesn’t look good. The police can use your drunken behavior against you. But if you do have the self-awareness to remember to stay silent, do so.