One of the most common questions posed to me during an initial DUI consultation revolves around the lack of Miranda warnings being issued prior to the arrest… Simply put, when the individuals are stopped and questioned about their driving and drinking pattern, they are not free to leave and are not told they do not need to answer. This questioning results in evidence which is later used to seal them into a story and limit their potential defenses during the following criminal litigation. Why is this allowed when it wouldn't be for other types of alleged criminal activity.
First, it is important to identify exactly what we mean when we discuss Miranda admonishments. When someone is in custody and being questioned in a manner likely to produce incriminating statements, that person should be Mirandized or told that he does not need to answer the questions and that he has a right to an attorney. While just about everyone in society has heard these rights time and again on TV, when faced with their own interrogation most immediately start answering in whatever manner seems appropriate or likely to get them out of the situation.
When pulled over and contacted during a DUI investigation, the officer has been trained to ask approximately fifty or more questions carefully designed to lock the individual into a DUI conviction. For example, when an officer asks, "is there anything wrong with your vehicle?" He truthfully does not care and is only asking the questions so that he can document in his report that your inability to hold your lane was not the product of a broken steering column but rather operator error brought on by the alcohol you consumed prior to the stop. Indeed, the current DUI investigation has been carefully developed over generations with one goal in mind - obtain evidence leading to a DUI arrest and prosecution.
So why would we as a society recognize that it is important to provide someone with a verbalization of their rights not to speak and their right to have an attorney in almost all crimes but not in DUIs? In a word, the reason is simply politics. We have decided that there is a tremendous public policy reason to allow police the ability to question DUI suspects without providing them their Miranda Rights because of the grave danger that these impaired individuals represent. This logic is followed elsewhere in cases where the need to avert a calamity to the public outweighs the individual being investigated (think firearm lost near a school yard).
In our experience, rarely is a DUI suspect provided with their Miranda warnings even when time and circumstance would seem to indicate doing so is appropriate. This does not mean that DUI cases are indefensible and we have found that DUIs, more then any other type of crime, require a specialized defense.
At the Law Offices of Jarrod M. Wilfert, we provide the highest quality defense. We begin each matter carefully reinvestigating your unique situation to uncover any and all mistakes that were made. Often these mistakes when properly presented can lead a prosecution to drop charges or reduce penalties. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call our office for a FREE CONSULTATION with an experienced Ventura County criminal defense attorney at 805-901-9119.