As I wrote in another post, the Miranda rights are important Constitutional rights that must be given to you before any custodial police interrogation. “Interrogation” is any direct questioning by officers about your involvement in suspected criminal activity. Its whole purpose is to get incriminating statements from you.
But in virtually every DUI arrest, the officers ask several questioning geared toward getting evidence that goes right to the heart of the crime – Have you been drinking? How much? Do you feel the effects of the alcohol? They do all this without ever advising you of your rights. How is this okay?
Under the law, during this DUI “investigation,” you are “detained” by the officer. If the court determines that you were only detained, the police are not required to read you your rights. Does this mean that you have to just take it? Absolutely not. You do not have to answer any questions during the investigation. There is nothing wrong or illegal about refusing (I’d suggest doing this politely) to answer any questions about alcohol consumption or other aspects of driving under the influence.
This goes even further. The standard “sobriety tests” given on the side of the road (touch your nose, walk the line, etc.) are also not mandatory to complete. You have absolutely every right to decline to participate in them.
So what if you’re reading this and it’s too late – you were arrested for DUI and answered the questions and did the tests. Is it over? Absolutely not. As with every criminal charge, aggressive representation and challenging every piece of evidence the prosecution wants to introduce against you is crucial. Were you really only “detained” by the police or did it elevate to being “in custody” where you were required to have your rights read to you before any questioning? Were the field sobriety tests properly given by the officer? Did they interpret them correctly? These and many more issues should be examined before you give up and plead guilty without a fight.