Miranda Warnings in Florida DUI Cases
Many people are aware of Miranda warnings from watching TV or movies, but they take on new meaning when you’re the one being arrested for violating Florida’s law on drunk driving. The term comes from the landmark US Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona, which established the rule that police must advise a person about their civil rights when arrested. The rights at issue involve protection against self-incrimination and having a Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer to represent you. Though the words will sound familiar, an in-depth look may be helpful.
Your Miranda Rights and How They Work in DUI Cases: Police will read your rights just as you hear on TV or in film when you’re arrested for a crime. However, in a DUI case, your Miranda rights may operate somewhat differently.
- You have the right to remain silent: This includes a refusal to answer questions from police, but your “silence” could also be through your actions. In a DUI case, you can also invoke your right by refusing to perform field sobriety tests as requested by an officer. Essentially, your performance is a type of statement – which you cannot be compelled to provide when under arrest.
- Anything you say can be used against you: Any statements you make and actions can be introduced as evidence by the prosecuting attorney. This is the reason it’s important to exercise your rights and stay silent. Your words could work against you, even when you’re trying to claim you’re innocent.
- You have the right to an attorney: You’re allowed to contact a lawyer right away, using a phone provided by police. This right is triggered by your arrest, once you’re taken into custody – and as you’re hearing the Miranda Police must allow your request for an attorney, and they cannot continue an investigation – including questioning – until your lawyer is present.
- If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you: A court may appoint a public defender to represent you in court. Under the circumstances, officers are still bound to respect your right to stay silent, just as if you contacted your own lawyer and waited for him or her to arrive.
What Happens if Your Rights are Violated by Police: If officers don’t read your Miranda warnings when required, or if they otherwise violate your civil rights, you have options to address the situation. Under the circumstances, police may have obtained important evidence that’s contrary to your interests. However, this information is inadmissible under the principles of constitutional law. Your defense lawyer can file a motion regarding the exclusionary rule – which makes it possible to toss this unlawfully obtained evidence out of court.
Contact a Florida DUI Defense Attorney Right Away
Your Miranda rights exist for a reason, so don’t hesitate to exercise them when you’re under arrest for drunk driving. Among the most important ones is legal representation, and you can rely on an experienced DUI lawyer to protect all of your civil rights. If you’re in custody for drunk driving charges, please contact attorney Kevin J. Kulik immediately. You can also obtain more information by scheduling a consultation at our Fort Lauderdale office.