Watch just about any television crime drama or any movie you are going to eventually hear someone say the following during an arrest:
"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?"
As recognizable as this speech is due to American entertainment media, not many people know that this is named the Miranda warning – or Miranda rights – in regards to a United States Supreme Court case back in 1966. Without getting into a history lesson, the case established that anyone being taken into police custody must first be reminded of their Fifth Amendment rights before any questioning can take place. Specifically, they are talking about the right to not "be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against [themselves]."
But what is so important about all of this? And why are police officers required to say the Miranda warning each and every time someone is arrested? If this is your first DUI arrest, you will want to know how a Miranda warning could impact your case.
In Criminal Cases, Evidence is Everything
Due to the 1966 ruling on Miranda v. Arizona, if you are not told your Miranda rights before being interrogated by the police, everything you say must be presumed to be involuntary and, therefore, inadmissible as evidence in a court of law. Basically, there is nothing official about what you are saying until you are reminded that you can choose to say nothing at all.
This is especially important in regards to driving under the influence (DUI) charges, especially when it is a first time arrest for someone. People who have been drinking, even a little bit, tend to talk more than they normally would. If you were pulled over on suspicion of DUI, your nerves could easily loosen your lips and you might end up saying far more than you intended, or accidentally say something that could be seen as self-incriminating. It is so important that you try to remember to your right to speak to an attorney and only an attorney and otherwise stay quiet.
Were Your Rights Violated by the Arresting Officer?
If you can think back to your DUI arrest but can't remember ever being told your Miranda rights, you might be able to reveal a serious hole in the prosecution's case. Although, being able to prove what actually occurred without it devolving into a he-said/she-said sort of situation requires skilled representation from a professional Miami DUI lawyer, such as myself, Attorney Jonathan Blecher. I have focused my entire practice on DUI defense cases and, since I started practicing law more than 30 years ago, I have accrued dozens of appreciative client testimonials and won even more cases through successful verdicts and results.