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Rights At a Maryland DUI Stop

There a variety of constitutional issues that could potentially come into play at a DUI stop. Below, a Maryland DUI lawyer discusses these issues and the impact they can have on your case. For more, call and schedule a consultation with an attorney today.

What Are My Rights At a DUI Stop?

All the constitutional rights are in effect during a traffic stop. The driver is still protected under the Fourth Amendment from any unreasonable searches and seizures so the driver does not have to submit to a search of their car.  If the vehicle is searched, the Fourth Amendment still applies and the state is going to have to provide a legitimate basis as to why they searched that vehicle without the driver’s consent.

The driver also has the Sixth Amendment right to counsel during the traffic stop and the driver should absolutely exercise that right especially when trying to determine whether or not to take the breath test. The right to an attorney is applicable during a DUI stop and so is the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, which means that the driver does not have to answer any questions or make any statements. Most people do not understand that they have the right to refuse to perform field sobriety tests and that they have the right to refuse to answer any question, but those rights absolutely do apply during a DUI stop.

Do You Have to Be Read Your Miranda Rights At a DUI Stop?

The police officer does not have to Mirandize a driver unless the driver is in custody and the officer wants to ask questions after the driver has been placed in custody. During the initial phases of the DUI stop, the driver is not in custody which means they do not have to be mirandized. Custody is a very specific legal term that essentially means that the driver is no longer free to go and the driver’s freedom to move has now been curtailed by the police officer. The most obvious form of that is when a driver is placed in handcuffs and the driver is placed in the police officer’s car.

At that point, the driver would be in custody and any questions that the officer might ask at that point forward, those statements that the driver made would not be admissible unless the officer had advise the driver of his Miranda rights.  However, all of the questioning that the officer might do prior to taking the driver into custody, that interaction with the police officer does not trigger the Miranda warnings. So a driver does not have to be read his Miranda warnings until it reaches the point where the officer has the driver in custody and wants to further interview or ask the driver questions.

If the officer never Mirandized the defendant, at trial, the effect of that would be that the statements that the driver made after being placed in custody could not be used against the driver. That would be the remedy, not the case being dropped.  Some people are under the belief that if they are not Mirandized, somehow their entire case would be dismissed and that is not accurate. The officer is still going to be allowed to testify about his observations of the car, his observations of the driver, all of that evidence can still come in at trial. It’s just that whatever statements the driver may have made after being placed in custody, those statements would not be admissible if the driver had not been Mirandized.

Your Rights After a DUI Arrest

The Fifth and Sixth Amendment right to counsel absolutely apply during and after a DUI arrest and what that means is that a driver has the right to refuse to answer questions until they have an opportunity to consult with an attorney. Additionally, the driver has the right to speak with an attorney before deciding whether or not to take the breathalyzer test.