Anyone who has seen enough police procedural shows knows that a crucial part of any arrest involves the officer reading a suspect his or her Miranda Rights. While these warnings are often portrayed as essential to the arrest, often highlighting how the lack of proper notice can be used as a basis for overturning criminal charges, the reality is far less clear-cut. To find out more about Miranda Rights and Minnesota drunk driving stops, keep reading.
Miranda Rights refer to the warnings issued by officers to suspects who have been detained and are about to questioned. Though many people believe that any arrest where an officer does not read these warnings will ultimately be thrown out, that is unfortunately not the case, especially when it comes to Minnesota DWI stops.
The reason is that Miranda warnings are only required when a person is in custody and is being asked questions by a law enforcement official. The two requirements of a Miranda warning are: (1) being under arrest and (2) being subject to a custodial interrogation. For example, if a person has been arrested and is taken down to a nearby police station for further interrogation, he or she will need to be informed of his or her Miranda Rights. If the officer fails to do so then the information that is uncovered during the interrogation will not be allowed into evidence during a subsequent trial.
The problem is that in most Minnesota drunk driving cases there is no real need for Miranda warnings. That’s because most drunk driving cases do not require custodial interrogation. Officers may ask questions of suspected drunk drivers, but if these questions occur outside of police custody then no warning is necessary. Once the person has been arrested, a simple blood alcohol test can be administered, usually without need for long question and answer sessions.
However, there is one example of a scenario where Miranda warnings would need to be issued during a drunk driving arrest. For instance, if a driver was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and was later placed under arrest and taken to the police station for a breath test, then that person is now clearly in police custody, the first thing that is needed to trigger a person’s Miranda Rights. If an officer then decides to question that person, perhaps asking some questions about how much he or she had to drink that evening, then the Miranda Rights would need to be explained and waived before the questioning could continue.
If an officer fails to read a suspect his or her Miranda Rights it is important to understand that the case against that person is not automatically dismissed. Instead, the fruits of that unauthorized interrogation will not be allowed into evidence during the eventual criminal prosecution.