From watching television legal shows, most people have an idea that police must read you your Miranda rights and evidence can’t be used against you if police don’t fulfill this requirement. For some accused of driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol, this conception of Miranda rights has led to a mistaken believe they can get their case thrown out of court, or at least prevent evidence from being used in court, if police didn’t read them their rights before asking them to submit to a test of their blood-alcohol concentration.
In reality, however, there are some nuances to the requirement that police read you your Miranda rights. While a law enforcement officer does need to inform you of Constitutional protections under certain circumstances, police don’t have to give you a Miranda warning during every interaction.
Whether or not evidence can be suppressed or kept from being used in your drunk driving case is going to depend upon the specifics of your situation. It is best to consult with an experienced DUI defense lawyer to determine if your constitutional rights were violated. If so, any evidence collected improperly cannot be used against you in a court of law.
Getting DWI Evidence Thrown Out of Court
Police are required to give you a Miranda warning and inform you of your legal rights before a custodial interrogation occurs. Police do not need to give you the warning and read your rights in other interactions you may have with a law enforcement officer.
The key question in determining if police should have read you your rights or not is whether you were in custody, and whether you were subject to an interrogation.
When police pull you over and ask you questions about whether you have had anything to drink or how much you have had to drink, there is a strong argument to be made these questions are part of an interrogation. After all, you are being asked to provide answers to questions that could incriminate you and could result in you being arrested and prosecuted.
When you’ve been pulled over, however, you are not necessarily considered to be “in custody” for purposes of triggering a Miranda warning. Being in custody typically means you are not free to leave the presence of the officer and you are subject to restraints common to being formally arrested.
You could argue you aren’t free to leave the officer’s presence when you’ve been pulled over since you can’t drive away. The problem is, the Supreme Court has already heard arguments like this and disagreed with them. The Court ruled a Miranda warning isn’t required during roadside questioning or when you have been detained pursuant to a traffic stop.
When police pull you over, this is considered a preliminary investigation and not a custodial interrogation. If police arrest you and don’t read you your Miranda rights, anything you say can’t be used against you — but your DWI case and evidence collected during your traffic stop aren’t going to be thrown out just because police didn’t Mirandize you as soon as you were stopped.