Christoph Law Offices, DUI & Criminal Defense
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Christoph Law Offices, DUI & Criminal Defense
Christoph Law Offices, DUI & Criminal Defense


  • Top Lawyers - San Diego Magazine
  • Former Deputy San Diego City Attorney
  • Former USMC Captain
  • Located Directly Across From Vista Courthouse
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Attorneys William R. Christoph & Nicholas W. Christoph

Miranda warnings not required initially on California DUI stops

The mere fact a motorist is stopped by a law enforcement officer, may not require the officer giving the driver Miranda Rights (right against self incrimination etc.) before asking investigatory questions. If the officer suspects that the motorist has been drinking, he or she will ask the driver questions like whether or not any alcohol has been consumed prior to the stop.

Since many motorists may be nervous when interacting with law enforcement, they may forget about their right to not answer questions that may incriminate themselves and many people want to try and talk their way out of being arrested so they begin answering the officer’s questions. These answers could cause problems in the future if the motorist is arrested for driving under the influence.

There are specific rules that police must follow during a traffic stop to ensure that a motorist’s rights are protected. This includes needing a reason to continue a DUI investigation, such as noticing obvious signs of impairment present on the motorist. They may also request that the driver take field sobriety tests and blood or breath tests, which may be used as evidence in the future.

Many motorists are unaware that these procedures do not require officers to give motorists their Miranda warnings before asking any questions. Miranda warnings are only required if the motorist is in custody and being interrogated. Prior United States Supreme Court decisions have held that a traffic stop is not custodial, even if the stop is for investigatory reasons.

This means that the officer can ask all the questions he or she believes necessary, and if the motorist responds, it is all potentially admissible evidence. Even if police fail to give these warnings, it may not result in much evidence being excluded.

In most cases, the real issue that will need to be examined is when the motorist is officially in police custody. There have been several cases that attempt to define when this occurs, and usually requires a case-by-case analysis to determine whether or not a motorist has been detained or arrested and when the obligation to give the driver his Miranda Rights is triggered. The remedy for failure to give the rights is to suppress the statements, not dismiss the case.

If you have been stopped by law enforcement officers, it is important that you are aware that you have rights. Whatever you tell the officer may be used against you, so you may refuse to answer any questions that he or she may ask that could incriminate you. You still may be arrested, but there will be less evidence to use against you at trial, should one become necessary. DUI cases require proof you were driving while under the influence or with .08 blood alcohol level or more and this may be proven without using any statements you may make.

Speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyers near me about your options if you are arrested for driving under the influence. Do not discuss anything with law enforcement officers until your attorney is present. An attorney can review the facts of your case, and help you understand all of the consequences that can result if you are convicted.

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