You’ve probably heard the Miranda warning before. You can’t watch a crime show or movie with police that doesn’t have someone reciting them during an arrest. However, the reality of these situations isn’t the same as what you might see and hear on your TV screen. If you are pulled over and arrested for DUI in California, your case will not be withdrawn just because the officer failed to read you your Miranda rights. The truth is, when it comes to DUI charges, the Miranda warning is not as important as it is for most other charges.
According to the 5th Amendment of the constitution, every suspect has the right to remain silent. Here is the Miranda warning in its entirely, which is often shortened for television:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
Any confessions that are made without the suspect being read the Miranda warning is not admissible. It cannot be considered voluntary if they have not been made aware of their right to remain silent. Two things must happen for a court to toss out a confession as a result of a failure to provide a Miranda warning. The first is that the suspect is in custody. The second is that there is an interrogation. If these two conditions are met, then Miranda rights must be made clear.
When it comes to DUI charges, however, it is rare for there to be an actual interrogation. A police officer may ask several questions, such as how much the driver had to drink, or where they are coming from. These questions are not considered part of an interrogation, since they are in fact investigating what took place. This means that during this period you are not protected by Miranda rights.
Your best option is to decline to answer any questions, even the investigative ones. You can also decline to take any sobriety tests, such as the ones that involve walking in a straight line or touching your nose. The police know that these tests are not reliable, and are in fact designed for people to fail them. What some people mistakenly do is refuse to take a chemical test like a blood test or a breath test at the station. This is what the DMV calls a refusal case. While you have the right to deny these tests there can be consequences such as losing your drivers license. People also mix up the breath chemical test with the PAS, the preliminary alcohol screening test. The PAS is a smaller device that officers ask you to blow in at the scene of the arrest as part of their investigation. The chemical test which includes a blood test can also be a breath test with a larger machine used at the police station.
When arrested for DUI, or for anything else, never forget that it’s always better to remain silent. Tell the officer that you do not want to answer any questions, and contact a reputable DUI defense lawyer as soon as you can. If you’re facing criminal charges, and don’t already have a lawyer give us a call, or email our office today, we can help!
In many cases, people get charged with hit and run under VC 20002 because they simply misunderstood the situation. In others, they truly did drive away after hitting another vehicle or pedestrian. If you find yourself charged with a hit and run, no matter what the reason, you need to be able to mount the best possible case. After you’ve been arrested, the best thing you can do is hire an experienced attorney. There are other things you can do, however, to get a good result.
The best thing you can do for yourself right from the start is to avoid talking to the police. You have the right to remain silent for a reason. Too many defendants incriminate themselves early in the process by speaking to the police. Sometimes they admit something they shouldn’t have, and other times they say something that is misconstrued and makes them look guilty.
Hiring an attorney is your best bet to avoid jail time and to possibly even get a dismissal of your case. While those are the two extremes, there are also other outcomes in between, ranging from a deferred judgment to a civil compromise. Only an experienced lawyer can help to negotiate a fair outcome.
In most cases, it is a good idea to fight a hit and run charge. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that a hit and run is easier to beat than other charges. However, being convicted can come with consequences outside of the legal system, such as loss of job, deportation, or a suspended or eliminated professional license.
California Vehicle Code 20002 VC can be applied if certain conditions aren’t met by a driver at the scene of an accident. These only apply if the accident causes damage to someone else’s property, but they must be followed whether you are at fault or not. First, you must turn off your vehicle if you are able and provide your information to the other parties involved. This information includes your driver’s license and registration.
If there is no other vehicle or person involved, then you are required to leave a note with your identifying information and a description of what happened. You must also contact the California Highway Patrol or the local police.
There are several possible penalties under VC 20002. They include:
- As much as six months in jail
- Fines up to $1000, along with any additional penalties assessed by the court
- Victim restitution
- As much as three years probation
- Two points added to your driving record
While those are the legal penalties, there are several other options open to you if you are charged with a hit and run. Some of these include a civil compromise or a deferred entry of judgment.
A civil compromise is often permitted when it is the first offense for the defendant and there are no other aggravating circumstances. In some courts, a deferred entry of judgment will lead to the charges being dismissed after you complete a court-ordered program, and possibly provide financial reimbursement to the other party in the accident.
In some cases, you may decide you want to fight the case in court. However, to make that choice, you need to talk to a knowledgeable and experienced criminal law attorney. Our local Bay Area defense lawyers can examine your case with an expert eye and determine what the best strategy is to get you a satisfying resolution. Don’t wait, call or email us today, we can help!