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Do The Police Have to Read Miranda Rights for a DUI Arrest?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ. | Dec 28, 2022

We are often asked If the police did not read my Miranda rights during a DUI arrest in California, can you win the case?

It would be best to remember that the police are not your friend. If you are arrested for driving under the influence, you should not engage in a conversation with them.

Do The Police Have to Read Miranda Rights for a DUI Arrest?

Many people have an incorrect belief that if you are arrested for a California DUI, and the police didn't read their “Miranda rights,” your DUI charges will automatically be dropped.

However, generally speaking, Miranda rights are not usually required as part of a DUI investigation unless there are some particular circumstances, such as asking specific questions after the arrest.

Miranda warnings are only required when the police arrest a suspect and are interrogating them.

This means police are not required to read Miranda rights at a roadside DUI investigation unless the alleged perpetrator has been arrested and the officer interrogates the motorist by asking incriminating questions.

As noted, Miranda rights are not generally required in a California DUI investigation. However, this means that if you decide to voluntarily answer questions by police about the type and amount of alcohol you drank, then any answers you give will be used against you during DUI plea bargaining or trial.

A typical Miranda warning in a DUI is where an officer tells a suspect the following information:

  • You have the right to remain silent;
  • Anything you say might be used against you in court;
  • You have the right to talk to an attorney and have them present with you while you are being questioned;
  • If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you before any questioning if you want.

The best way to avoid having incriminating statements used against you is to remain silent. Respectfully tell the police officer at the beginning of your DUI investigation that you wish to exercise your right to remain silent. Let's review this topic in more detail below.

What About Police Asking Questions to Someone in Custody?

Having practiced for 30 years, I get many questions, and this Miranda issue is significant.

People feel like they need to be read their Miranda rights; if they weren't, they should somehow be able to win their case.  So the answer to the question is straightforward.  Yes, you could win your case, but it is unlikely, and let me explain why.

Police Asking Questions to Someone in Custody

When it comes to your Miranda rights, the police only have to read them to you if you're in custody and they're asking you questions that could elicit an incriminating response.

The problem with the whole Miranda issue relating to DUIs is that they usually don't need your statement to prosecute you.

In other words, if they've got your blood alcohol level over.08 and can prove you were driving, they will win the case, so they don't need a statement.

If they ask you, when were you drinking?  How much were you drinking, you answered all those questions, and they could use that evidence usually.

Without that evidence, if they can still make their case, you're not going to be able to win a DUI case, and the type of cases that DUIs are, they're usually going to have other evidence.

For example, they will smell your breath when they pull you over.  They'll ask you questions before you're taken into custody, so you'll give a bunch of information they can use against you.  They will get your blood or breath results and can use that against you.

Why Do You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

So, the bottom line is that this whole Miranda thing is a fallacy.  Miranda has been eroded so many ways over the years, so you're usually not going to have anything related to that.  Instead, you're going to want to focus on the following:

  • Was I legally pulled over?
  • Did the police see me driving?
  • How soon did they get my blood or breath?
  • How high was my blood alcohol?
  • Was it a legal pullover?

Because if it goes past three hours, now you argue, there's no way they could figure out what your blood alcohol level was at the time of the driving.  Maybe they just pulled you over for no reason.

So, there's a whole bunch of issues that you can assess when you're talking about a DUI case, but this entire Miranda thing is usually not one of the issues that will help you.

If you've listened to or reviewed this and still think you have a Miranda issue, call me, and we can discuss it. Still, the bottom line is, if you've been arrested for a DUI, whether it's your first, second, third, or fourth DUI, you want to call an attorney like me who has much experience so you get taken care of the right way.

Hopefully, you don't end up doing any jail time.  Our California criminal defense lawyers will fight for your driver's license and criminal record. So, if you need the best, pick up the phone now.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  I stand at the ready to help you. The Hedding Law Firm is located in Los Angeles, CA.

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About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

Ronald D. Hedding, Esq., is the founding member of the Hedding Law Firm. Mr. Hedding has an extensive well-rounded legal background in the area of Criminal Law. He has worked for the District Attorney's Office, a Superior Court Judge, and as the guiding force behind the Hedding Law Firm. His multi-faceted experience sets Mr. Hedding apart and puts him in an elite group of the best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Southern California.