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Benefit from the Experience of Attorneys Bill and Valerie Sherman Former Assistant Attorney General, Assistant County Attorneys and Magistrate Judge

How Does the "Miranda Warning" factor in a DUI Matter?

Any criminal defense attorney in Georgia will tell you that the best thing to say if you have been arrested by the police is nothing at all. Even those of us fortunate enough to have never had a run in with the police have certainly seen a TV or movie crime drama where the police officer recites the Miranda warning, explaining that the criminal suspect has the right to remain silent and has the right to an attorney.
Despite seemingly having expressly invoked his right to remain silent and a request for an attorney after being stopped for DUI, a judge recently ruled that subsequent statements made by a criminal suspect would still be admissible as evidence against him. This highlights not only the importance of telling the police that you would like to remain silent but also exercising that right by actually remaining silent.
In this case, the suspect had likely thought he had made clear his intention not to answer any more questions by telling the detectives that "I don't have anything else for you." He then seemingly attempted to request the assistance of his attorney by asking for his lawyer's phone number. After seeming to have asked for legal representation he likely thought that his questioning was over. The judge however determined that subsequent statements made while he was being transported in the police car could be admitted into evidence.
The judge reasoned that by asking for his attorney's phone number he was simply asking for the number for future reference and not actually invoking his rights. In addition that by saying he had nothing else for them, only meant that he had nothing else to volunteer, not that he would no longer answer questions.
When someone is under arrest they should not have to worry whether they have stated the specific magic words that a judge will interpret as a successful invocation of their rights. The best way to be certain that a statement will not later be used against you in court is never to say it.

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