You have rights when you are stopped by the police for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These rights are called your “Miranda rights” or it may be referred to as “being Mirandized.”
The laws vary widely by state and even by county. The laws apply to you for the state in which you are detained, not by the state where you reside.
In most states, your rights are:
1. The right to remain silent.
2. Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.
3. You have the right to an attorney now and during any future questioning.
4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you free of charge.
There are limitations and exceptions to these rights.
- A police officer must have a reason for pulling you over, but they have broad discretion including suspicious behavior (driving too slowly), weaving out of your lane, or erratic behavior (sudden lane changes).
- You have the right to refuse to take field sobriety tests or submit to chemical testing, but your driver’s license will most likely be immediately revoked. Also, note that this refusal in itself warrants your arrest. If you believe you might be above the legal limit for blood-alcohol content, it is best to request that an attorney be present. At this point, you will be read your rights, arrested, and taken to a police facility to contact your attorney. You then have to submit to chemical testing.
- You will be read your rights at the time you are arrested. Your rights do not have to be read to you when you are asked to perform field sobriety tests. However, if your behavior is such that you are causing a serious public disruption or the officers feel your behavior is a threat to your safety or the safety of others, they are not required to read you your rights at that time.
- You have the right to be told what charges are being brought against you at the time you are arrested.
- You have the right to refuse to answer any questions as what you say can be used against you at a trial. It is best to calmly request that your attorney be present for any questioning.
- When you are taken to a detention facility, you have the right to make a phone call.
- You will go to your arraignment quickly, which is your right; this will happen within 24 hours. You will most likely be detained until that arraignment.
It is important to know your rights in the state where you reside. If this situation were to happen, you might feel pressured by police officers to unknowingly give up your rights.