Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Partial Lack of Significance of Miranda Rights in DUI cases in California

California DUI attorneys are often asked about "Miranda Rights." "Why didn't the cop advise me of my rights?"

The advisal or Miranda Rights admonition is usually voluntary in California DUI cases and not usually given, for the following reasons:

During the investigative stage, the California officer has no obligation to advise one of the person of Miranda rights (to an attorney, to remain silent).

In California DUI cases, the officer asks all the questions before arresting (handcuffing), thereby avoiding the issue of having to advise. The person does not have to answer any questions but the person usually does.

Not until handcuffed is the need for the Admonition triggered.

And by that time, the officer normally has all the answers to all the questions needed to arrest for Driving under the influence of alcohol.

After that, the officer abstains from questioning during custody.

It is not like the officer takes the person downtown and puts them under a hot light: Did you commit a California DUI?

And in California DUI cases, the person has no right to speak to an attorney before deciding whether to take the required breath or blood test (it's called the "implied consent" law when one signs up for one's license).

In sum, the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney are substantially different in a California DUI case.

Caveat: Nonetheless, any interrogating statements made after taken into custody (e.g. in the police car: Were you drunk? Yes I was very drunk) may not be used against the person at trial and are subject to suppression for failure to admonish.

California DUI lawyers can sometimes exclude statements.