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The Right To Remain Silent During A DUI Stop

Few people know that they have a right not to say anything to an officer who has pulled them over on suspicion of driving under the influence. Sometimes a person knows that they don’t need to speak to the officer but do so anyways because they think that cooperation will help their cause. Sometimes a person just gets so nervous that they don’t even think about it and start answering the officer’s questions.

What kind of questions will be asked during a DUI Stop?

Some questions an officer might ask, and almost always do, include: “Where are you going?” “Where are you coming from?” “Have you had anything to drink?”

The driver is doing him or herself no favors if they answer with, “I’m going home from the bar and I’ve only had one or two drinks.” All the driver has done is given the police more reason to arrest them and given the prosecutor more evidence to convict them.

Maybe the driver wouldn’t have answered the officer’s questions had they been read their Miranda Rights. Why didn’t the officer read the driver their Miranda Rights before the officer started asking questions? When does the officer have to read the driver their Miranda Rights, if at all?

All statements given to law enforcement must be voluntarily given, even those given during a DUI stop. The United States Supreme Court in the landmark case of Arizona v. Miranda said that a statement cannot be voluntarily given if a person doesn’t know they have a right not to say anything under the 5th Amendment. Therefore, in order for a statement to be voluntarily given, a person must be made aware that they have a right to remain silent.

If a person is arrested, the Court held that an officer must read a person their Miranda Warnings before a “custodial interrogation.” This means after an arrest and before an interrogation.

If a person is stopped on suspicion of a DUI or even a traffic violation that leads to a DUI investigation, and the person is not arrested, even though they may be temporarily detained, the officer is inevitably going to ask questions after stopping the person. That person has the right not to speak to the officers or answer his/her questions. However, the officer’s duty to advise the driver of the Miranda Warnings has not yet been triggered because the person is not yet under arrest.

Questions asked during this time are considered merely preliminary in nature. And yes, any answers given by the driver during this time are fair game for officers and prosecutors to use in a DUI case against the driver.

So whether it’s before a driver is arrested or after with Miranda Warnings given, a person never has to talk to officers or answer questions. The 5th Amendment right to remain silent exists whether the Miranda Warnings are given or not.

Attorney Archambault understands the anxiety individuals experience when facing criminal charges. Therefore, he takes the time to meet with his clients to explain the charges and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their case. Schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your case with Attorney Archambault.