I get asked this question all the time. People say the police never read me my Miranda Rights and therefore, I want to get the charges dismissed against me. Unfortunately, it’s more complicated than this. Usually when it comes to a DUI, some technicality is not going to get a person off unless the technicality relates to a very important or integral part of the prosecutor’s and police’s case in a DUI.
The reality is that the police do not need to read you your Miranda Rights even when it comes to a DUI. Where the issue comes in is if they don’t read you your Miranda Rights and then they later attempt to get a statement against you in order to prove that you’re guilty of the DUI. That’s where the defense attorney can argue – wait a minute, you didn’t read the person their Miranda Rights, you had him in custody, you were asking him direct questions which could incriminate him – therefore, you’re not going to be able to get that statement in and then the judge would make the final ruling. If that statement was a crucial or necessary part of the prosecution’s case, then obviously that could be significant for getting your DUI dismissed.
However, the reality is usually the evidence that the police and prosecutors are using in a DUI in Los Angeles, centers around your breath reading, how you did on the field sobriety test, how you did on the PAZ exam, which is the preliminary alcohol screening device out in the field, and they’re really looking at what your driving was like, how you were talking or how you were walking to determine whether or not you were impaired to the point where you can not safely operate a motor vehicle. So, your statements aren’t usually as significant as these other factors that I’m mentioning. However, what the police will try to do is, they’ll ask you when you drank, how much you drank, what type of alcohol you drank, and they’ll try to really help their expert out with an eye towards a future trial. A lot of the questions that they’re asking during the booking process and when they pull you over are targeted on trying to incriminate you and trying to block a later defense that you might try to raise at the potential trial.
The police are specifically trained to check off a lot of these boxes and talk to prosecutors and other authorities in order to make sure that they can prevent you from asserting certain defenses in a future trial related to your case.
So, if you have a DUI matter and you were not read your Miranda Rights and you believe that you gave some statements that are now being used against you to incriminate you, obviously your best strategy is to sit down with a seasoned criminal defense attorney and let them assist you in developing a strategy and seeing if the fact that your Miranda Rights weren’t read to you really is important in your case.