One of the most common DUI questions we get at W. Scott Smith, P.C. is: “Why didn’t the Officer have to read me my Miranda rights?” What a great question! Let me see if I can explain.
The Miranda warning stems from a famous United Supreme Court case, Miranda vs. the State of Arizona. In that case, the Supreme Court of the United States said that IF you are placed into custody and then the Officer attempts to interrogate you, he/she has to warn you of a few rights. We know these rights as the Miranda Rights and they go like this:
You have the right to remain silent.
Anything you say or do may be used against you in a court of law.
You have the right to consult with an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.
If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning, if you wish.
If you decide to answer any questions now, without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney.
Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney?
If the officer chooses not to read you the warning while you are in custody and still proceeds with questioning, then any statements you make may be suppressed by the court at a later date and ultimately result in your case being much stronger.
So Why Didn’t the Officer Read Those to Me When He Placed Me Under Arrest for DUI?
In most DUI cases, not all, the Officer is NOT required to read you the Miranda Warning. Most Officers will wait to place a driver they suspect to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs under arrest (or in custody) to avoid having to read the Miranda Warning. Which makes sense, right? The Officer is trying to get you to answer questions about your consumption of alcohol and have you submit to testing that he/she plans to use against you at trial. If he starts telling you that you have the right to have a “pesky” lawyer like me present, you’re probably not going to do anything. In Georgia, our appellate courts have determined that when you are asked to exit the vehicle and perform field sobriety testing or answer questions about where you were or where you are going, you are NOT deemed to be in custody, and thus, not entitled to have the Miranda Warning read to you.
BUT, the question of whether or not you are in custody CAN be a sticky issue. We encourage anyone who has been arrested for DUI in the State of Georgia to contact our office immediately for a FREE consultation (404-581-0999). Our lawyers can use their knowledge and experience to determine whether or not the Miranda Warning should have been read in your case, which sometimes can mean the difference between your case being dismissed and a conviction for DUI.