As a long-standing Pennsylvania DUI attorney, Steven Kellis with Kellis Law Firm has answered thousands of questions for his clients, many of which revolve around DUIs and your Miranda rights, specifically what happens if the officer failed to read you your Miranda rights.
In such a case it’s possible that your case can be dismissed, however, that possibility depends on the facts of your case. Please call Kellis Law Firm at (215) 977-4183 or use the online form to schedule your free case review. Here’s some more information on how an officer’s failure to Mirandize you could affect your case.
Miranda rights defined
There’s no exact wording that an officer uses when reading your Miranda rights, but most of the time they’ll say, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you.” Then they’ll inform you of your right to legal counsel, including the appointment of counsel if you can’t afford an attorney. This is another right afforded to you under the Fifth Amendment.
If you ask for an attorney during your interrogation, the officers can’t ask you any more questions until your attorney is present–this is one of your basic constitutional rights. Even if you decide not to ask for an attorney, you have the right to stop answering questions at any time. A violation of these rights could result in a reduction of your charges or the ultimate dismissal of your case.
Although you might think that the officer must read your rights at the time you’re detained or arrested, that’s not the case. However, they must read your rights before engaging in a custodial interrogation.
If they fail to do so, anything you say could be suppressed and deemed inadmissible by the court. The same goes for some evidence the police may have collected based on those statements.
What happens in a DUI investigation?
When an officer pulls someone over on suspicion that they’re driving under the influence, they’ll look for signs of impairment. These can include bloodshot eyes, alcohol on the breath, or slurred speech.
If the officer suspects that there’s a potential DUI, they’ll usually ask the driver to step out of their vehicle and participate in field sobriety tests. Common tests include standing on one leg, touching their nose, walking a straight line, and others. The officer may also ask that the driver submit to a breathalyzer or breath test to determine the driver’s blood alcohol content.
If the officer decides to make an arrest, they’ll take the driver into custody and they will conduct a custodial interrogation. At this time they must be informed of their rights through a Miranda warning.
The officer might make open-ended statements with the hope that the driver will talk and say something to help the officer’s case such as admitting that they were under the influence. The officer might even try to twist the driver’s words in their report. Other times they might ask direct questions such as:
- “Where were you going?”
- “I noticed you were weaving a little bit.”
- “Is your vehicle having problems?”
If you’re arrested for a DUI, it’s important that you ask for legal counsel right away and that you don’t answer any questions until your attorney has arrived.
Will my charges be dropped if the officer doesn’t read me my rights?
Not necessarily. If the officer has physical evidence against you that was obtained before the interrogation, such as your performance in the field sobriety tests, those might still be used against you.
Your Pennsylvania DUI attorney might be able to get any self-incriminating statements made before your custodial interrogation thrown out, even if you weren’t read your rights until later. This will make it very difficult for the prosecution to pursue their case.
Talk to Kellis Law Firm about your Miranda rights and DUI
Mr. Kellis has over two decades of experience and is ready to put his knowledge to work for you by providing the aggressive representation you need. Contact him online or call (215) 977-4183 for a free consultation.