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Miranda Rights Jacksonville FL

We've all watched a TV show at some point that has used the famous speech (which came out of what is called Miranda Rights or Miranda Warnings): "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be held against you." However, not as many people are aware of how a person's Miranda Rights can be used as a defense against the prosecution in all cases including DUIs/DWIs.

As a leading drunk driving defense attorney, Casey Bryant answers some of the more commonly asked questions below as they pertain DUI charges with regard to understanding Miranda Rights.

What are Miranda Rights?

Miranda Rights, also known as Miranda Warnings, are a series of statements that a police officer is required to recite to anyone who is being placed under arrest - especially those facing potential DUI charges. These statements inform the person who has been drinking and driving of their constitutional right not to answer potentially incriminating questions and include:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to an attorney.
  • If you can't afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you.

Why are police officers required to read a person facing DUI charges the Miranda Rights? Once you have been placed under arrest for drinking and driving, the officer must read you these rights in order to be able use anything you say from the point of arrest forward against you in a court of law. If you are facing DUI charges, you can request what is called a Miranda hearing. During the hearing the prosecuting lawyer must be able to prove that your Miranda Rights were read to you properly, that you understood them, and that you knowingly waived them and answered the questions or made the statements regardless.

Who is Miranda anyway?

In 1963, Ernesto Miranda was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona, for armed robbery and attempted rape and assault based on a written confession he gave to police. After Miranda was convicted, his lawyers appealed the decision based on the grounds that Miranda did not know he could have been protected from self-incrimination.

In a landmark decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966, Miranda's case was overthrown. At that point, the court established that anyone accused of a crime, including DUI charges, has the right to remain silent and that prosecutors may not use statements made by defendants while in police custody unless the police have advised them of their rights, now referred to as the Miranda Rights.

When are Miranda Rights read to someone facing DUI charges?

The minute you are placed under arrest for drinking and driving, your Miranda rights must be read to you and that is when they take effect. However, be advised that prior to arrest or the police officer forming probable cause to arrest for a DUI charge, the officer may freely ask you questions without reading you the Miranda Rights. In fact, many police officers trained in issuing DUI charges will try to get as many incriminating answers as possible during the pre-arrest investigation phase. Additionally, many officers will wait to arrest you until after all the field sobriety tests are conducted in order to establish probable cause for arrest because if the officer reads you Miranda Warnings before the field tests, it will be difficult to justify doing the tests after that. What purpose do they serve if the officer already had probable cause?

Will the police officer go easier on me for DUI charges if I talk?

Someone being suspected of DUI charges is not required to speak and may simply say they "have nothing to say right now and would like to speak with a lawyer". At that point, if the police continue to question the suspect, the police may be in danger of violating the DUI suspect's Miranda Rights and anything the DUI suspect says after the violation will usually be inadmissible as evidence in court. However, police officers will often tell those who have been drinking and driving that they will go easier on them if they talk. Be advised that the police have no control over what happens to you after you have been arrested. Whether or not you will be issued DUI charges is up to the State or Federal prosecutor, a potential jury, and the presiding judge. Accordingly, if you are arrested and accused of drinking and driving, you are advised not to talk with anyone other than your DUI defense lawyer otherwise your case may be more difficult to defend. It is almost always easier for a DUI defense lawyer to defend a case when the person facing DUI charges has not given a statement to the police.

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