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Does the Miranda warning matter during a DUI arrest?

Someone who is pulled over for a driving under the influence (DUI) infraction in South Dakota could face arrest and criminal prosecution. Police officers often screen drivers during traffic stops and after collisions for warning signs of impairment. Once they have probable cause to believe that someone is under the influence of alcohol, they will arrest that person and submit the evidence to prosecutors so that they can pursue charges. A DUI can lead to jail time, sizable fines and license penalties.

Those accused of a DUI infraction are often eager to find mistakes in the arrest process that can benefit their defense strategy. Some people will point to an officer’s failure to provide them with the Miranda Warning as a possible issue. Is the Miranda Warning necessary during a DUI arrest?

Miranda rights matter during questioning

Some criminal defendants can keep certain evidence out of court by showing that police officers violated their rights. The failure to warn someone about their Miranda rights is a common violation that could impact the usefulness of someone’s confession or other statements made to the police.

Despite what many people believe, police officers do not need to provide the Miranda Warning when they arrest someone. Instead, the Warning is necessary before questioning or interrogating an individual who is already in state custody. If officers want to question someone about their driving habits after an arrest, then they should provide the Miranda Warning.

However, officers frequently do not need to question those suspected of impaired driving. Someone’s behavior in traffic, their performance on field sobriety tests and their chemical test results can provide the state with sufficient evidence to bring charges against them. It is legal for officers to arrest someone for a DUI and never provide them with the Miranda Warning because they will not answer any questions while in state custody.

There are many other ways that police officers could violate someone’s rights during a DUI traffic stop or arrest that could have a bearing on their defense strategy. For example, officers may not have had a justification to pull someone over. Learning more about the rights of those in state custody may help individuals trying to put together an effective defense strategy for pending criminal charges.