Legal Question in DUI Law in Washington

A Miranda question involving the breathalyzer. I was pulled over for DUI, was read my Miranda rights, I exercised them, that I would not do anything without an attorney present, no questions no breathalyzer until one is present. Does Miranda still apply in this incident? It's even on video. The cop was making noise on his microphone every time I would answer him asking for an attorney.

Asked on 4/26/12, 5:42 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Ama Okoro Snohomish County Public Defender

Miranda - or your right to remain silent and have counsel present during questioning- only benefits you if the officer continued to ask you questions after you invoked your right. If this was the case, than those statements maybe suppressed at trial. However if this was not the case, than your Miranda rights probably won't have any baring on your case. Furthermore your case will not automatically get thrownout if your Miranda rights are violated.

I suggest you get an attorney to help you with your case, if you don't already have one.

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Answered on 4/26/12, 6:04 pm
Jonathan Baner Baner & Baner

Ms. Okoro is right. There isn't simple answers to these questions. Your "Miranda rights" are your 5th Amendment rights (in part). Miranda v. Arizona is a Supreme Court case that stands for the basic proposition, in relevant part here, statements that are the product of custodial interrogation are inadmissible against the defendant unless the Defendant is first advised of his or her right to remain silent (blah blah). Miranda failures are used to suppress statements.

Police in DUI situations are generally incompetent/lazy/forget something, but not so much so that they forget to read three sentences on a pre-printed form. In DUI situations as you seem to describe it it appears that you are saying you refused to take a breath test without having an attorney present. In other words, you refused a breath test which is your uphill battle. It is, it seems to me without looking at anything in your case whatsoever, that your focus might be on the implied consent laws.

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Answered on 4/26/12, 7:46 pm
Stan Glisson Glisson & Morris

Whether you invoked your Miranda rights has little or nothing to do with whether you submit to a BAC test. In Washington, the "implied consent" law means that if you choose to drive a car, the government can assume you have consented to a BAC test upon reasonable request.

Miranda exists because you have a right to remain silent. In the BAC context, the opposite is true; you have an obligation to give a sample. If you refuse, you can be penalized.

But, yes, if you invoked your Miranda rights - then any answers you gave to questions should be suppressed from a jury trial.

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Answered on 4/30/12, 9:27 am

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