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Know your Miranda rights to protect yourself

If you've been arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it's important that you understand how your Miranda rights could affect your case. While you may be familiar with Miranda rights from television, the truth is that they're not as straightforward as it appears.

The police don't actually have to read you any rights when you're first arrested. It's up to you to stay quiet until your rights are read, or anything you say could be used against you in court.

Miranda rights are a requirement because they inform the person being arrested that he or she has Fifth Amendment rights protected by law. This is the right to stay silent and to have an attorney present when or if you speak with police. If the police have not yet decided to take you into custody or aren't planning on interrogating you yet, you may not have your rights read to you. At that point, anything you say can still be used against you, even though your rights haven't been read.

If you are in custody and are being interviewed but weren't read your rights, then there's a chance that any evidence obtained won't be able to be used against you in court. The police have a legal obligation to offer you a chance to have an attorney present and to inform you that anything you say in their interview could be used in court. Failing to do this may delegitimize their evidence.

DUIs are special, since officers generally have evidence prior to arresting you. However, if there is any question as to the validity of the arrest or your intoxication, the police should read your rights to make sure they're following the law appropriately. Our site has more on how to prove you've been unfairly treated.

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