Knowing what your rights are is always important, no matter what situation you find yourself in. When it is a potential criminal charge however, such as a DUI stop, it is doubly important that you are aware of them. This could prevent violations of your rights from occurring, which could create more problems in the long-run. Below, an Arlington DUI attorney talks about the rights each person has at a DUI stop, and provides advice on what to do should you find yourself in this situation.
During a DUI stop, you have numerous rights that are always protected, unless the police can show that you forfeited those rights. In general, when interacting with police, you have a right when speaking to police to not say anything to the police; they cannot compel you to say anything, especially anything against your interest. Whenever you deal with police, you always have a right to remain silent, regardless of whether they inform you of that right.
You also have the right to leave the scene if the police do not have a reasonable suspicion or probable cause to keep you. If police officers come up to you on the street and starts asking you questions, you have a right to walk or drive away from the scene. Police must have reasonable suspicion to detain you, which requires them to point to certain facts, a threshold they must meet.
Additionally, during a DUI stop in Arlington, you do not have to blow into the preliminary breath test. The breath test is not mandated by law, and thus it is within your rights to not perform it. You can say, “I refuse to perform the test,” and the police must respect that that.
If you are arrested by law enforcement, your rights change somewhat. While you are no longer free to leave the scene at that point, you have the right to remain silent. Police cannot compel you at any point to make any statements. Once the formal court proceedings are initiated, you have a right to an attorney. While you can always request an Arlington DUI attorney before that, the police are not required to provide an attorney for you before the initiation of the formal proceedings.
Furthermore, in Arlington, you no longer have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test administered at the precinct or detention center if you were validly arrested for a DUI. If you refuse at that point, officials can charge you with new offense called refusal, which is an unreasonable refusal to provide a breath or blood sample. This is a civil violation for a first offense, but upon conviction you lose your license automatically for a year. The punishment is severe.
It is absolutely legal of the officers to not read you your Miranda while they are conducting their investigation into whether you are under the influence during a DUI stop. There have been cases decided on this issue that say that the police do not have to read you your Miranda warning on a DUI stop.
The time that Miranda really comes into play is in “custodial interrogation,” which are very legal terms. You are legally “in custody” during an arrest or its functional equivalent, and you are interrogated when police are asking you questions that are designed to elicit an incriminating response. Thus, when you are interrogated in police custody, that is when police must read you your Miranda rights. Being in custody is more than just being detained on the side of the road. Custodial interrogation is a very specific circumstance and that is the only time Arlington police officers have to read your Miranda rights.
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