When do police have to read my Miranda warnings in a DWI case?

“I have your back”

"Hiring Adam was the best decision after I was charged with 4 tickets for a DWI. It took Adam just one court appearance to convert all the tickets into a minor DWAI with minimum charges. He always made sure I was relaxed and he would take care of me like a younger brother. I've no words to thank him for what he has done for me!" *****

“Amazing lawyer”

"He is a very professional and well organized individual that will work with you not against you in any situation, and does his best to defend you and your rights in court. I would highly recommend P. Adam Militello for anyone in need of his services he provides." *****

“Mr. Militello is the BEST!”

"Adam is an AWESOME attorney! I never been in trouble with the law and after getting pulled over on the holiday was charged with a DWI. I was scared and terrified. Adam told me, I would be okay and he would fight for me. Which he did. He got my misdemeanor charge down to a traffic infraction of a DWAI. Which is a non criminal charge. I am very thankful and blessed. I'm a healthcare professional and a misdemeanor would have affected my career. He is honest, a good listener, very funny and keeps you updated in regards to your case. He contacts you in reasonable time and works hard on your case. He doesn't mind when you call asking a lot of questions. Also, he is very affordable and will work with. Forget the rest, hire best. Adam is the best." *****

When do police have to read my Miranda warnings in a DWI case?

P. Adam Militello, Esq.
P. Adam Militello, Esq.

Miranda warnings are those warnings on TV that you've heard police read to defendants a hundred times: "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning. If you can't afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. If you decide to answer any questions, you have the right to stop answering at any time. Do you understand and know your rights as I've explained them to you?"

Police are required to read Miranda warnings to suspects before they undergo what is referred to as a “custodial interrogation.” What you and I might think of as a “custodial interrogation” is not at all what courts, prosecutors, and police officers think of as a custodial interrogation. You can be “temporarily detained” without being in custody. For example, if police stop you at a checkpoint and direct you to pull over to the side of the road, you have been detained. You are not in custody, and therefore, when the police officer approaches your car to ask for your license and registration, you are not undergoing a custodial interrogation and, according to the case law, you are not yet entitled to be read your Miranda warnings.

You may say to yourself, "Well, if a police officer pulls me over and starts asking me questions, I'm in that officer’s custody and control because I am not free to drive away from the police officer." You are half correct. If a police officer pulls you over and starts asking you questions, you are being detained, and you are not allowed to leave voluntarily. However, you are also not in that police officer's custody, at least in the eyes of the law. And so, until you are in custody and being interrogated, he or she doesn't have to read you your Miranda warnings. Don't try to understand it. It makes no sense.

The line between questioning during a temporary detention and a custodial interrogation is not clearly marked. Attorneys and judges argue about where that line is every single day.

What we are really arguing about is whether a defendant’s incriminating statement is going to be used against that person, even though it was extracted by law enforcement while the defendant was unrepresented by counsel. You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney. If you don’t know that you have that right, you might understandably think that you need to answer the questions being asked by the police officer with the bullet-proof vest and hand on a Glock .45.

If police extract an incriminating statement (a confession) from you before you are read your Miranda warnings, the question becomes whether you volunteered that statement, or whether it was made during a custodial interrogation. If it was voluntary, it can be introduced as evidence into court. If it was made during a custodial interrogation and you had not been read your Miranda warnings, then the statement is inadmissible. As you can imagine, there are many, many disagreements between defense attorneys and prosecutors over whether confessions are admissible into evidence. You may be surprised, however, to learn that 95% of persons charged with DWI volunteer a statement. It’s true. You have the right to remain silent. Please exercise that right until you have spoken with an attorney.

If you have been charged with a DWI, contact The Militello Law Firm today. Our phone number is (585) 485-0025. We can help.

 

The Militello Law Firm
2480 Browncroft Boulevard
Rochester, New York 14625
Phone: (585) 485-0025 Fax: (585) 286-3128