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Drunk Driving arrest, no Miranda Warnings and no Breathalyzer

If you have been arrested for drunk driving you may wonder what evidence the police needs to make a drunk driving arrest and get a drunk driving conviction. Recently on our DUI forum we had a user ask, “Will the charges be dropped for my drunk driving arrest if I have a video which shows the police did not ask me to submit to a breath test and they never read me my Miranda Rights?”

What evidence does the police need to make a drunk driving arrest?

Although the police may ask you to submit to a preliminary breath test, if they have enough evidence that you are intoxicated they may simply arrest you for drunk driving and perform a chemical test of your blood, breath or urine. Common evidence of drunk driving can include driving infractions or physical evidence such as stumbling, incoherent speech, blood shot eyes, falling down and a belligerent attitude. They can also rely on witness testimony or statements you make at the scene. What happens if you refuse the chemical test? States have laws which require drivers to submit to a chemical test if they have been arrested for drunk driving. If you refuse, the state will automatically suspend your license. Administrative license suspensions are not criminal charges but civil and can be brought against you by the Department of Public Safety even if you are eventually found not guilty. So will it matter that the police did not ask you to submit to a breath test prior to your drunk driving arrest? No, if you were arrested they likely have additional evidence they can present in court against you.

What about my Miranda Rights at the time of my drunk driving arrest?

Most of us have watched enough Law and Order to assume the minute we are pulled over and the handcuffs are being put on our wrists the police officer should be reading us our Miranda Warnings. So what if they arrested you and you were never read your rights? It may not matter. In 1966, the Supreme Court ruled in Miranda v. Arizona that police officers are required to read you your rights before they interrogate you. These warnings are intended to protect you against self-incrimination but only if you are under arrest and the police officer is going to conduct a custodial interrogation (meaning you are in police custody). If you are not in custody and the police officer is not interrogating you the police have no need to advise you of your rights.

What if the police officer asks me questions BEFORE I am arrested and taken into custody?

Some DUI suspects confuse an investigation with an interrogation. A police officer may ask you a series of questions prior to the arrest to determine if you are intoxicated and if should they should make a drunk driving arrest. You of course have the right to refuse to answer their questions, but it may not do any good. If they have sufficient evidence you are drunk they are likely to make a drunk driving arrest regardless of what you say. What if you are arrested, interrogated in police custody and you were never read your  Miranda Warnings? Hire a drunk driving lawyer who can review the questions and your answers and they may be able to get your responses excluded from evidence.
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