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Miranda Warnings in DWI Cases

Westchester County Lawyers Protecting the Rights of People Arrested for Drunk Driving

If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in the New York City area, the police must inform you of certain constitutional rights before questioning you. This notice is universally known as a Miranda warning, and it may be crucial in defending against a DWI conviction. At Tilem & Associates, our Westchester County DWI attorneys carefully examine the circumstances and facts of every criminal case to ensure that our clients’ rights have not been violated. We can explain the significance of the Miranda warning in DWI cases, and argue aggressively in an effort to prevent unlawfully obtained statements from being used against you in court.

Miranda Warnings in DWI Cases

The Miranda warnings provided by law enforcement generally state that you have the right to remain silent, that your statements may be used against you in court, that you have the right to an attorney and if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you, and that you have the right to stop answering questions at any time. The Miranda warnings arose out of a U.S. Supreme Court case styled Miranda v. Arizona. In that case, the Court held that unless a person knowingly and voluntarily waives these constitutional rights, any incriminating statements made in response to direct questioning while in police custody cannot be used against that person in a criminal trial. As a result of the Court’s holding, law enforcement officers almost always read Miranda warnings to someone placed under arrest or taken into custody for a DWI. The purpose of Miranda warnings is to confirm that the person understands their rights before police questioning. If a defendant was not informed of their Miranda rights, the court may not allow statements made by the defendant during a custodial interrogation to be used against them.

Different Types of Police Questioning

Miranda warnings are only required for a custodial interrogation. Many people pulled over for suspected DWI do not recognize the difference between basic police questioning that occurs right after the stop and questioning in custody. The significance here is that the police may question you during the initial investigation without providing Miranda warnings. For example, the officer may ask for your license and vehicle registration, where you are driving, if you have been drinking, and other questions to evaluate whether there is probable cause to believe that a DWI offense has occurred. In these circumstances, you are not considered to be in police custody, but only temporarily detained. Typically, any statements that you make at this early stage, absent police misconduct, are considered lawfully obtained for Miranda purposes and may be used as evidence in a DWI trial.

If you are placed under arrest for DWI, you are in police custody. As such, the police must read you Miranda warnings before interrogating you. If you voluntarily and knowingly waive your Miranda rights and answer police questioning, your statements are generally admissible in court. In some DWI cases, the prosecuting attorney may attempt to use a statement or confession made by a defendant in police custody before Miranda warnings were provided. The issue then becomes whether the defendant voluntarily offered the statement, or whether the police deliberately and unlawfully elicited the statement from the defendant. A voluntary statement may be introduced as evidence, while a statement made during a custodial interrogation without providing Miranda warnings is inadmissible in most DWI cases. A skilled defense lawyer can examine the circumstances of your DWI case to determine whether your Miranda rights were violated.

Discuss Miranda Warnings in DWI Cases with a Westchester County Attorney

At Tilem & Associates, we are committed to preserving the rights of people accused of drunk driving, theft offenses, and other New York state and federal crimes. Our Westchester County lawyers can answer any questions regarding Miranda warnings in DWI cases and provide legal representation to residents of in Kings, Nassau, Bronx, Suffolk, Putnam, Richmond, Rockland, and Queens Counties. To arrange a free consultation with a DWI defense lawyer, call Tilem & Associates at 877-377-8666 or contact us online.

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