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What are Miranda Rights and do they apply during a DUI stop?

If law enforcement stops you on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, how should you respond when the officer begins asking questions? 

You have heard about Miranda Rights, but what exactly are they? Do these “rights” always play a role in an arrest for DUI? 

A little history

The term “Miranda Rights” originated from Miranda v. Arizona, a lawsuit in which the United States Supreme Court made a ruling about self-incrimination. The ruling stated that a law enforcement officer must advise a suspect of their right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present before interrogation can begin. 

Possible questions

The law enforcement officer who pulls you over on suspicion of DUI must ensure that you are aware of your right not to say anything when questioned. You must provide any answers voluntarily. Examples of questions the officer could ask include, “Where were you coming from? Where are you going, and did you drink any alcoholic beverage?” 

The reading of your Miranda Rights

Although the questions an officer might ask after stopping you on suspicion of DUI are preliminary and may seem harmless, officers and prosecutors can use the answers you provide against you in a court of law. Keep in mind that an officer does not have to inform you of your Miranda Rights unless he or she intends to arrest you. If you answer questions prior to an arrest, you could incriminate yourself with anything you say. A defense strategy will include examining the circumstances surrounding your arrest for DUI, and the subject of Miranda Rights will play a role in that investigation.