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Miranda Rights

The DUI officer never read me my Miranda Rights. What does this mean?

As California DUI defense attorneys, we get asked this question all the time. Many people are under the belief, a mistaken belief, that the cops must always read people their Miranda rights any time they make a DUI arrest.

Unfortunately, however, there is no automatic requirement that the DUI officer read you your rights as part of the DUI arrest. The Miranda rights are only required when both (1) you've been placed under arrest for DUI and (2) the DUI officer continues to interrogate you.

“Under arrest” means the DUI officer has placed you in handcuffs and into custody. "Interrogation” means the cop continues to ask questions designed to elicit an incriminating response—questions such as “How many drinks did you have? What were you drinking? Do you feel intoxicated?”

Once you have been placed in custody, if the DUI officer wishes to interrogate you further, then he or she must first read you your Miranda rights. If he fails to do so, a California DUI lawyer can probably get excluded from evidence anything you say after being taken into custody and before the DUI officer reads you your rights.

In most DUI arrests, however, the officer gets around the Miranda rights requirement by asking you the interrogation questions at the roadside, before you go under arrest for DUI. Because (usually) you are not yet “in custody”, as California DUI law defines “custody”, the Miranda rights need not be read.

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DUI cases are rarely hopeless. DUI convictions are almost never inevitable. Clients retain our California DUI defense attorneys for one reason: they want to fight the case. And win.

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The police arrested you for DUI. You gave a blood or a breath sample. The DUI officer confiscated you drivers license. The police released you with a notice to appear in court in a few weeks. Where do you go from here? Our lawyers are here to guide you step by step.