All About Miranda Warnings for DUI/DWI Charges
Summary: If you get pulled over and tested for blood alcohol content or fail a field sobriety test, a police officer may arrest and charge you with DWI or DUI. Miranda warnings are a required part of the process, and it is important that you understand the Miranda warning and know how to take action if the officer does not read you your rights.
Law enforcement must provide you with an explanation of your rights before they interrogate you. This explanation is called the Miranda warning. The legal basis for Miranda warnings stems from the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. On June 13, 1966, the United States Supreme Court ruled that all criminal suspects have to be advised of their rights. If you are pulled over under the suspicion of DWI/DUI in New Jersey, the officer must give you a Miranda warning before asking you questions or arresting you.
What the Miranda Warning Comes From
In 1963, a woman in Phoenix, Arizona, reported to police that she had been abducted, driven to the desert and assaulted. Police detectives administered a polygraph test, which yielded inconclusive results. She provided a description of the car, and a similar vehicle was traced to a man named Ernesto Miranda. Miranda had a prior record with police. The victim did not identify Miranda in a police lineup, but he was interrogated by detectives. Miranda confessed but later recanted. He did not know that he had the right to not say anything at all to the detectives. Miranda’s public defender did not bring any witnesses on his behalf. After being convicted and sent to prison, the American Civil Liberties Union took up his case. The Supreme Court overturned his conviction.
Text of the Miranda Warning
Since the Supreme Court ruling, all suspects must be read their rights. The reading of rights is called a “Miranda warning.” The warning is well-known at this point, which may be due to the popularity of criminal investigation television shows and movies. The Miranda warning includes several key parts.
- You have the right to remain silent: This relates to the Fifth Amendment and your right to not incriminate yourself.
- Anything you say can, and will, be used against you in a court of law: If you choose to speak after being advised of your rights, the court could admit it as evidence.
- You have the right to confer with an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you: The Constitution grants you the right to legal counsel.
Why Miranda Warnings Are Important in DWI/DUI
There are several parts of the Miranda warning that are important to your rights if you are pulled over for a suspected DWI. If the officer asks if you are drunk, you have the right to not answer the question. You can answer some questions, but you do not have to answer any of them without an attorney present. You may ask for an attorney at any point when a police officer or detective is questioning you. If you cannot afford an attorney once charges are brought against you, the court must appoint one on your behalf. This is the indigent person clause.
What Happens If You Are Not Given a Miranda Warning
If you are not given the Miranda warning and you did not sign a valid waiver of your rights, anything you say to police officers or detectives may be invalidated by the court. This is related to the exclusionary law in the case of Mapp v. Ohio. Mapp v. Ohio was related to the Fourth Amendment, which explains the law as it relates to the search and seizure of evidence. The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution gives you the right to an attorney even if you cannot afford one.
If you did not receive a Miranda warning from the police officer, your rights may have been violated. When you are dealing with charges related to DWI or DUI, legal representation helps inform you and protect your rights under New Jersey law. To learn more about your Miranda rights, contact DUI attorney Denis Driscoll today.