Many people ask me about their Miranda rights when I discuss their Virginia DUI with them. How does that apply to the case?
Hello, my name is Andrew Flusche. I’m a Virginia traffic and DUI attorney. One question that comes up a lot, and that I’ve talked and written about before, is: does it matter that the officer didn’t read me my Miranda Rights? Unfortunately, in many traffic and DUI cases the answer is no, it doesn’t matter that you weren’t read your Miranda Rights.
The key points for even a DUI case are that the officer has to be able to prove that they had a valid reason to pull you over, they have to prove that they had probable cause to arrest you, and typically, they are going to admit a breath or blood certificate to prove that your blood-alcohol concentration was above the legal limit. Usually your statements that you might have made after you’re in handcuffs aren’t really even needed for most DUI cases, and that’s what Miranda is concerned about.
Your Miranda Rights are concerned about statements that you make during a custodial interrogation. So when you’re being asked questions while in police custody, that’s when Miranda Rights come in. So if you don’t make statements, it’s not really an issue. You may make statements, but they may not need them in court. So that’s the thing we have to look at anytime there is an issue about Miranda. Were you actually in custody, were you being interrogated, and did you make statements that the Commonwealth needs for their case? Now, if you did make statements that they need and you were under custodial interrogation and Miranda wasn’t read, then it really DOES matter.
Now, if that sounds really complicated, it’s because it is. But this is definitely something to talk to an attorney about. I love answering the question about Miranda Rights because it shows that the person I’m talking to has done a little homework and kind of knows what issues to look for. Unfortunately, usually the answer is that it doesn’t matter. But definitely talk to an attorney for your unique case and see if it does matter for you. Maybe it could be a defense.
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