“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you. Do you know and understand these rights?”
The Miranda Rights. Thanks to Law & Order and other popular police TV dramas, almost every American can recite them by heart. Unfortunately, most do not understand how the Miranda rights actually apply in reality. The most common misconception we encounter is the belief that a person MUST be read their Miranda Rights at the time of arrest. Many people even believe a police officer’s failure to read them their rights is a basis for having the case dismissed or thrown out.
In reality, Miranda Rights only apply to “custodial interrogations” – that is, statements made by a person in police custody under formally questioning or interrogation. Therefore, any statements you make or questions you answer before being placed in custody are NOT protected by Miranda. Even after you’ve been arrested, there is no requirement that your Miranda Rights ever be read unless you’re being formally questioned or interrogated.
So, what does happen if you’re arrested for a DWI in Wake County and the police never read you your Miranda Rights? In short, the effect of an officer’s failure to read Miranda Rights during the course of a DWI arrest is virtually non-existent. In the majority of Wake County DWI investigations, the most incriminating statements people make are in the first few minutes following the initial traffic stop – long before being placed in custody. These statements are not protected by Miranda and will almost certainly be admissible as evidence against you. Furthermore, all voluntary statements you made while in custody will also be admissible, along with any other evidence of impairment (the officer’s observations, performance of Field Side Sobriety Tests, breathalyzer results, etc.).
Although the police may not be required to read your Miranda Rights, you still have the right to remain silent – and we advise you exercise that right! If you’re stopped for suspicion of DWI in Raleigh or Wake County, we recommend that you politely and respectfully decline to answer any questions.
If you’re looking for the best DWI lawyer in Raleigh, call The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel at 919-585-1486 for a free consultation with one of our experienced Wake County DWI lawyers.