How Do Miranda Rights Apply to DUI Arrests?

Have you or a loved one recently been arrested for drunk driving in Illinois? Perhaps you have a DUI and want to better understand the process.

One of the most important things to understand about getting a DUI is Miranda rights and how they work in conjunction with an arrest. Having the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney are highly important in any legal situation.

Here is a full guide to understanding how Miranda rights apply to a DUI arrest.

What are Miranda Rights?

You’ve likely heard of Miranda rights, or know the phrase from TV and movies. These rights come from the Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona from 1966.

During that case, the defendant confessed to a crime and was convicted. However, the conviction was thrown out, and the law was established that a suspect must be aware of their right to remain silent. They must also be told that they have the right to an attorney.

Illinois courts are bound by this Miranda decision. This means that police officers must warn the defendant of this right to remain silent and have an attorney. These are sometimes called Miranda rights or Miranda warnings. However, there is an exception to this rule that is important to understand.

However, before we cover the exception, you should understand the full process of being pulled over for a DUI. If you’ve never experienced a DUI, or you’re researching DUI’s for a loved one, it’s important to know what happens when a person is pulled over and suspected of drinking.

What Happens When You’re Pulled Over for a DUI?

When you’re pulled over and suspected of driving while intoxicated, the police officer will likely ask you questions about what you were doing just before driving, including if you were drinking. You’re allowed to politely refuse to answer these questions until you consult with an attorney.

Whether or not to submit to a breathalyzer test if an officer asks you to do so can be complicated. It will depend on your specific situation, and Illinois law states that refusing to submit to chemical testing results in automatic minimum penalty of license suspension for 12 months.

First offenders who submit to a breathalyzer might only have their license suspended for 6 months if the BAC is .08 or greater; 12 months if you refuse. 

If you’ve already experienced being pulled over for a DUI, you know it can be a terrifying experience. You likely have a lot of fear and nervousness just from being pulled over. It’s important to remember you do have rights when being pulled over for a DUI.

What are Your Miranda Rights During a DUI Arrest?

During the DUI stop, you can invoke your Fifth Amendment privilege and decline to answer questions, though it’s recommended to be polite and calm when doing so. It is also your right to refuse the officer from searching your vehicle or your person.

Miranda rights are highly important for someone arrested for a DUI, but it’s also important to know when the exclusionary rule applies. Miranda rights do not apply if it’s a Terry stop and not a custodial interrogation.

A Terry stop means that the police officer can stop you for a traffic violation on a reasonable suspicion that you did commit, or were about to commit, a crime. During a Terry stop, you aren’t under arrest, so the interrogation isn’t custodial.

In this situation, the officer isn’t required to read you Miranda rights. The idea is that the officer is investigating to try to understand what is going on and isn’t gathering evidence for a criminal case.

However, based on the length and nature of the stop, a Terry stop can become custodial. At that point, your Miranda rights apply.

What if the Officer Didn’t Read Your Miranda Rights?

The police officer is required to read you Miranda rights if they ask you questions and plan to use the answers as evidence against you in a DUI case. Meaning, your rights apply if the officer is interrogating you to gather evidence.

If the police officer makes an arrest, but didn’t ask any incriminating questions, the Miranda rights aren’t required. The purpose of these rights is to prevent you from incriminating yourself, but if you haven’t been asked any questions, they’re not required to read them.

The police are allowed to arrest you without reading Miranda rights. However, if they want you to admit to a crime, then they must first read the Miranda warnings.

So, if your arresting officer didn’t read you the Miranda rights, it could be beneficial to your case, but only in some circumstances. If most of the evidence is based on your confession when the officer failed to read you the Miranda rights, a court might throw out the evidence.

In either case, it’s important to consult an attorney for legal advice before answering questions.

Understanding Your Miranda Rights During a DUI Arrest

If you’ve recently been pulled over for a DUI, it’s important to know your rights, including your Miranda rights. Remaining silent and contacting an attorney can help you in your case later on.

There is an exception to reading Miranda rights, so consider all the events that happened and the questions the officer asked you at the time of being pulled over.

Contact us today if you’re interested in more information about how to get your license reinstated after a DUI arrest, or for further legal advice.