You Can Be Arrested for DUI Without Being Read Your Miranda Rights
Because of the unique protocol of a DUI arrest in Virginia—an officer first has to pull you over for reasonable cause, then administer a field sobriety and breathalyzer test, then escort you back to the police station for a blood-alcohol test, and (if the results indicate intoxication) only then officially book you for drunk driving—the classic “Miranda rights” of American citizens usually don't apply. This is a common misconception of individuals arrested for drunk driving, and one that can be rectified by talking to an experienced Virginia DUI lawyer from Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC.
In the First Stages of a DUI Investigation, an Officer Does Not Have to Read You Your Miranda Rights
If you watch a lot of TV or enjoy action movies, you probably know the Miranda warning by heart: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand these rights I have just read to you?” In fact, this warning is so well-known that millions of otherwise intelligent Americans think any arrest can be voided if the police officer fails to read you your Miranda rights.
The fact is, though, that virtually no drunk-driving charges are ever dropped (or convictions overturned) because of the lack of a Miranda warning. This is because, technically speaking, a police officer only has to read you your Miranda rights after you've officially been arrested for a crime, and not before. For instance:
The officer is fully entitled to pull you over at a sobriety checkpoint and ask you a series of questions, which he will expect you to answer, without reading your Miranda rights. If you choose not to answer his questions, that will give him probable cause to proceed with administering a breathalyzer test.
In the state of Virginia, you gave your “implied consent” to submit to breathalyzer and blood-alcohol tests when you obtained your driver's license. So, being administered these tests does not constitute an infringement of your Miranda rights.
By the time an individual has been officially arrested for DUI in Virginia, the officer has (most likely) already accumulated enough evidence to secure a conviction. So, anything the suspect says as he's being led into the station probably won't come up at trial—and at any rate, he'll already have been read his Miranda rights.
Just Because You Don't Have Miranda Rights Doesn't Mean You Have No Rights at All
The fact that a police officer doesn't have to read you your Miranda rights during the first stages of a DUI investigation doesn't mean that he can get away with certain actions such as opening your trunk or flipping through your wallet.
Only an experienced traffic attorney can tell you if your rights have been violated during a Virginia DUI arrest. Call 888-783-9701 and speak with one of the skilled defense lawyers at Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC today. Your initial consultation is free.