If you have watched an episode of television or movie in which someone is arrested, then you no doubt heard the Miranda rights read to that person. When we say Miranda rights we refer to the litany of rights that a police officer is required by the U.S. Constitution to inform an arrestee of before asking him or her questions that the police officer wants to introduce as evidence later on in the criminal process.
Perhaps you could recite these Miranda rights from memory because they are so much a part of our culture and society, but you may not be sure as to their origin or applicability. You may also be wondering whether Miranda rights apply to you during a DWI arrest. In this post we seek to answer some of those questions.
The idea of Miranda rights comes from the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. One of the many rights guaranteed by that amendment is that no person will be compelled to be witness against him or herself in any criminal case. This means that the police cannot compel a confession out of someone or browbeat him or her into saying something that is not true.
The language of the Fifth Amendment clearly states that the state (meaning the police or prosecution) cannot compel a confession out of someone. But historically, professional police offices and law enforcement agencies were guilty of tactics that caused people to make a confession to crimes that they did not commit. It was in this environment in the 1960s when the case of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966) came to the Supreme Court.
The Miranda case involved several cases where the police in those situations obtained confessions from their prisoners without informing them of their rights, and by tactics that amounted to compelling a confession. In deciding its case, the Supreme Court ruled that in order to protect our right to not be compelled by the police, an arresting officer must make warnings before questioning an arrestee. Those warnings are the Miranda rights, or the:
These are the basic warnings the Supreme Court held must be given to every person that is arrested and questioned by the police.
As you can see, Miranda warnings form an important part of our criminal justice system. They are fully applicable in a DWI arrest. If you are arrested for DWI you have all of the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Miranda decision by the Supreme Court. But most importantly, you need an advocate that can stand up for and fight for those rights.
At The Wilder DWI Defense Firm we are DWI defense attorneys on your side. We are intimately familiar with your rights under the U.S. and Texas Constitutions, and we will fight for them zealously on your behalf. If you have been arrested on suspicion of DWI and charged, contact us. We will be happy to go over your case and provide you with your legal options.