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The Miranda Warning & Drunk Driving Arrests

Man handcuffed for drunk driving.jpeg

The Miranda warning (also known as Miranda rights), is a warning that is required to be given by all law enforcement officials to individuals in police custody (or in a custodial situation) prior to any police interrogation regarding a criminal matter such as drunk driving.

The Miranda warning informs individuals in police custody about their constitutional rights such as the following:

  1. You have the right to remain silent;
  2. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law;
  3. You have the right to an attorney;
  4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you; and
  5. If you choose to talk to the police officer, you have the right to stop the interview at any time.

An officer can interrogate you while you are in jail, in a public place, in the police vehicle, or at the scene of the crime. Most interrogations take place at the police station.

Generally, during a roadside drunk driving stop and investigation, a police officer will ask whether you consumed any type of alcohol within the past few hours, where were you driving to or from prior to being pulled over, and/or if you were driving under the influence of a controlled substance. Officers are not required to read your Miranda rights to you prior to asking these particular questions at the roadside. In Michigan, you are not typically considered to be in custody during a drunk driving traffic stop until after you have been told you are under arrest.

With the exception of providing your driver's license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration, you should refuse to answer the officer's questions. Upon your refusal, the officer must wait a reasonable period of time to reinitiate questioning. If the officer continues to question you after the refusal, the statements you make can be challenged as inadmissible evidence.

Note, police officers are only subject to provide a Miranda warning if they intend to interrogate you while in custody. You can still be arrested and charged for drunk driving in Washtenaw County without being read a Miranda warning. Any statements you provide prior to the Miranda warning being read will be held against you in court.

Invoke Your Right to Counsel

If you invoke your right to counsel, the police must cease asking you any questions until your attorney is present.

You should never respond to any questions the police may ask without your attorney present; however, you must answer questions regarding your identity. If you consent to respond to additional questions, then your statements will be used against you as testimonial evidence at trial. During the interrogation, you do have the right to change your mind about providing the police with a response. They can resume questioning after a reasonable period of time, unless you invoke your right to counsel.

If you are ever pulled over for a traffic violation you should provide the police officer with your license, insurance, and registration upon request. Never make any statements to the officer about your actions prior to being stopped because those statements can and will be used against you in the court of law. Contact me for more information about how to defend a drunk driving charge in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


The Miranda Warning

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