Most people believe that if when they are arrested and not “read their rights,” they will not be punished. This is not completely true in Ohio. But if the police don’t read you your Miranda rights, the prosecutor can’t use what you say as evidence against you at trial. The purpose of the Miranda warning is to remind you that you have a 5th Amendment right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself.  However, for police, the reading of the rights is to help preserve the admissibility of your statements in a criminal proceeding. Police are only required to read you your Miranda rights if they intend to interrogate you while in custody.

“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?”

The best thing to do is remain silent. If detained by an officer, state your name for identification. If the officer tries to engage in conversation, state politely but firmly, “I choose not to speak to you without a criminal defense attorney.” Anything else said will be used against you in court. The conversation that may seem benign can get a conviction. Saying that you were at a party where illegal drugs were puts you at the scene of a crime, even if you never touched a drug, can lead to a conviction.

If you were read the Miranda warning and you waive your rights, meaning you wish to speak to police freely without an attorney present, you can change your mind at any time and ‘plead the fifth,’ meaning you no longer wish to answer questions, or that you have changed your mind and wish to have an attorney present after all.

If your Miranda rights were violated, it is a legal defense to DUI.  While it does not result in a complete dismissal of a DUI charge, it does challenge the prosecution and make it harder for them to prove their case against you.  An officer can stop you at any time and ask you questions. You get to decide whether or not you choose to answer those questions. The Fifth Amendment grants you the right not to cooperate – the right to remain silent. If you are the suspect of a crime, it is highly recommended that you speak with your criminal defense attorney prior to answering any questions. If a police officer asks to see your driver’s license or insurance, you cannot refuse to provide the officer with those items.

The Bottom Line: If you’ve been arrested and law enforcement fails to inform you of your Miranda Rights, an aggressive criminal defense attorney will most certainly try to use that violation in an attempt to have your charges dismissed. The most important thing to remember is to remain silent and call Scott  513-260-2099