When Does the Protection Afforded by Miranda Rights Apply If You Are a Suspect in a Criminal Investigation?
Interviewer: The last thing I want to ask you about is Miranda. You have people that say that, “They didn’t read me my rights. I want to get the case thrown out because they didn’t do that.” What’s the real story with Miranda?
Attorney Nebeker: I hear that question all the time. One of the first things my clients tell me is, “Well, they never read me my rights,” and they think the case should be thrown out because of that. When it comes to Miranda, there is kind of two parts to it on a DUI.
Miranda Rights Apply to the Criminal Side of a DUI, Not the Civil Hearing about Driver’s License Suspensions
We’re looking at the driver license portion of it. That hearing is civil in nature and Miranda basically doesn’t apply. If the person ask for an attorney, when the officer is trying to get them to take their chemical test, and the officer is telling them that they’re under arrest for DUI. If the person asks for, “I want an attorney. I have a right to counsel.” The officer is supposed to read them a warning, because that can be a basis for refusal, also.
The officer says, “I want you to submit to the breath test,” “Well, I want my attorney.” We have fine lines of that being a refusal so they’re supposed to read you a warning, an admonition that says that Miranda doesn’t apply for that portion.
Miranda Rights Apply When You Are in Custody and Are Subject to Interrogation
However, afterwards, when the officer is conducting a post arrest interview, you’re in custody and he’s asking you questions, then yes, he has to read you your Miranda rights. In any general case, Miranda applies under certain circumstance and that is when you’re in custody and when you’re subject to an interrogation.
Interviewer: The questions you are asked when you’re first stopped, such as how much have you drank tonight, none of that is covered by Miranda, is that right?
Attorney Nebeker: For the most part, no. Not around here, no, it’s not.
Realistically, from an evidence point of view, let’s suppose they did violate your Miranda rights by you saying you had two beers, before you drove. If they still have a chemical test that shows you’re a 0.02, more than double over the limit, then really your statement is not relevant.
The focus is your blood alcohol level. Most people think that is a reason to have the case thrown out, but they can put you in the car, put the cuffs on you, and not say anything to you, take you down to the jail, book you in and they haven’t violated your Miranda rights.
Interviewer: Why should people hire you specifically? In particular, what is it about what you do that should give good people good reason to talk to you for a consult?