A majority of people who I speak with concerning a DUI charge will make comments or voice concerns that police officers did not advise them of their Miranda Rights before they were asked to perform field sobriety tests. Unfortunately, there are only very specific instances where police are required to read you your Miranda warnings. Consequently, many people are disappointed to learn that their DUI charges will not be dismissed solely because the police officer failed to advise them of their Miranda Rights at the time they were initially stopped and then asked to participate in Field Sobriety Testing.
What Are Your Miranda Rights?
Simply put, your Miranda rights are a series of advisements that police must give you prior to questioning. They include:
- The Right to Remain Silent
- The Right to Have an Attorney Present Prior to Questioning
- Any Statements You Make Can Be Used Against You In a Court of Law
- If You Cannot Afford to Hire An Attorney, One Will Be Provided for You
When Must Police Advise You Of Your Miranda Rights?
Again, there are only very specific situations where police are required to advise you of your Miranda Rights. Particularly, when you are "in custody" and "subject to interrogation," officers must tell you that you have the right to remain silent, that anything you say can be used against you, that you have the right to the presence of an attorney and finally, if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you. Courts which have examined Miranda violations claims have specifically defined what "custody" and "interrogation" actually entails.
A person is deemed to be "in custody" when there is a reasonable belief that they are not free to leave. Examples of people who are "in custody" for Miranda purposes are those who have been handcuffed on the side of the road, people seated in a locked police car or individuals detained in a secure room at a police station. On the other hand, custody does not exist when you appear voluntarily for an interview at a police precinct, are questioned in your home without being formally detained or are interviewed at the scene of a traffic stop.
With respect to interrogation, Miranda warnings must be given only when police are asking you questions which are intended to elicit an incriminating response. For example, police must advise you of your Miranda Rights after you are formally arrested for DUI and they ask you things such as:
- How many drinks have you consumed?
- How would you rate yourself at the time of driving?
- Did the alcohol you consumed affect your driving behavior?
Alternatively, simple introductory questions such as your name, address, birthdate, etc. do not require Miranda advisements as these types of inquiries are not aimed at gathering incriminating information.
Field Sobriety Tests and Miranda Warnings:
Field Sobriety Tests are commonly used by officers throughout the State of Arizona during DUI investigations to determine whether someone may be impaired to drive a motor vehicle. Officers have been trained and will testify that driving simultaneously involves both physical and mental tasks such as maintaining a proper speed and direction, staying in one lane of traffic, signaling prior to turning or changing lanes and recognizing and reacting to changing conditions on the road. Field tests are designed to test a person's ability to perform physical and mental tasks at the same time such as walking heel to toe for nine steps, raising a foot off the ground while counting or using a designated finger to touch the tip of your nose.
Unfortunately, courts in Arizona have determined that Field Sobriety Tests are "Non-Testimonial." This means that performance on a field test is not a statement or response to a question. Also, field sobriety tests are voluntary. Individuals cannot be forced to participate in field tests or penalized by police for refusing to do them. Therefore, given the "Non-Testimonial nature of field tests and fact that you cannot be compelled to participate in them, police in Arizona do not need to advise you of your Miranda Rights before you perform the Walk and Turn, One Leg Stand, Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus or other roadside tests.
Call (480) 833-8613 for Immediate Help with Your DUI Case
There are many issues and defenses which can be investigated to help you obtain the most favorable result following an arrest for DUI in Phoenix and surrounding cities. Undoubtedly, DUI charges are difficult to defend and also can result in very severe penalties. Attorney Raymond Kimble is a former police officer, DUI and felony prosecutor and has represented thousands of people charged with DUI in Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Phoenix and other cities throughout Maricopa and Pinal Counties over the last twenty years. Ray Kimble will have a clear understanding of all the circumstances in your case, along with the knowledge, skill and experience to protect your drivers license and achieve the best possible outcome for you..