What You Need to Know About Miranda Rights & DUI Arrest

Anyone who has ever tuned in to the TV show Cops has watched a scene where someone is arrested and quickly read their Miranda rights—“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law…” However, you might not be aware that a police officer doesn’t necessarily have to read you your Miranda rights after an arrest for evidence to be used against you.

What Are Your Miranda Rights

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say 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 provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

When Miranda Rights are Required

Miranda rights are essentially a reminder to those who are arrested that they have constitutional rights under the Fifth Amendment. These rights only pertain to someone who is:

  • In police custody; and
  • Going to be questioned about a crime.

So if you’re in police custody, on your way to be interrogated without being read your Miranda rights, anything you say could likely be inadmissible in court, making any evidence discovered as a result inadmissible as well.

DUI & Miranda Rights

When it comes to a DUI, police usually have all the evidence they need to take you into custody: including chemical test results and physical evidence in your vehicle. This means that your Miranda rights may not be required, because they have no reason to question or interrogate you after your arrest.

Breath and Field Sobriety Tests

If you are offered a breath test to validate your level of impairment, you must complete the test in front of the officer. In the state of Nebraska, if a police officer suspects intoxication, the driver may be subjected to a preliminary breath test. A driver must submit to this test by law. This test determines if the officer can take you to the station for further testing of your breath, blood, or urine.

In Nebraska, it may seem that refusing field sobriety tests is not an option. However, a police officer may not force a driver to take any field sobriety test. Field sobriety tests determine whether the driver is impaired due to consumption of alcohol or drugs, however the results of these tests are subjective. The tests include walking and turning, standing on one leg, and a horizontal gaze nystagmus assessment in which the officer shines a penlight past the eyes of the driver. The officer looks for horizontal or lateral jerking when eyes gaze to one side or following directions of each test to validate results. This means that the driver can refuse to take the tests without immediate repercussions.

Understand that results of a breath test have a certain degree of error and submitting to a field sobriety test could verify errored breath test results. It would be better to refuse the field sobriety test, which is not mandatory, and let the other results be proven instead.

If you are arrested on suspicion of DUI following a traffic stop, it’s important to contact our Omaha criminal defense attorneys at Carlson & Burnett to discuss your case. We are here to help! Call (402) 810-8611 or contact us online.

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