Arrested for a Wake County DWI, But Never Read Your Miranda Rights?

“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.


Wiley Nickel

Wiley Nickel lives and works in Cary, North Carolina. In 1998, he graduated from Tulane University with a major in Political Science and a minor in History. After college Wiley went to work for Al Gore and travelled with the Vice President as part of his national advance staff. Following the Gore campaign he earned his law degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law in 2005. While in law school Wiley worked as a law clerk in the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office where he gained valuable criminal trial experience before taking and passing the California bar exam. His first job out of law school was for the Merced County District Attorney’s Office where he worked as a Deputy District Attorney with a focus on prosecuting DWI offenders. Wiley later joined the Law Offices of Joseph Uremovic where he focused on civil litigation and family law. When the opportunity came to join the Obama campaign in 2008 Wiley jumped at the chance. He spent three years travelling with President Obama as a member of his national advance team. In 2011 Wiley left his work for the White House to return to the practice of law. Wiley devotes the majority of his practice to the areas of criminal law, family law, traffic tickets and DMV issues. The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel was started with the goal of providing the best representation possible for all of his clients. Experienced, Compassionate, Aggressive Criminal Defense While defense attorney Wiley Nickel works as the primary attorney for all of his cases, he does have an associate attorney, a team of investigators, forensic consultants, and support staff to call on to help achieve the best possible result in every case. He limits his case load so that he can focus on providing the best possible legal defense to all of his clients. Every case is a top priority and the goal is to have your case dismissed with a focus on being able to expunge your charges at the end of the process. When he is not working, Wiley is an avid family man, distance runner and golfer. He loves North Carolina college sports and is hoping this is the year for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Wiley is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and California.