If you are arrested and charged with DUI, you’ll probably be read your “Miranda” rights, which include your right to an attorney. If you’re charged in southern California, call an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney immediately. Most Californians are familiar with the term “Miranda rights” at least from watching television if not from first-hand experience. “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 appointed for you.” It’s almost as familiar as the Pledge of Allegiance. Nevertheless, many do not know who Miranda was or precisely how Miranda rights apply to those accused of crimes in the United States.

The phrase “Miranda rights” (also known as the Miranda “warning”) is a product of the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Miranda v. Arizona. Ernesto Miranda confessed his crimes during questioning in police custody, but he was never offered an attorney. The outcome of Miranda’s case established that criminal suspects must be advised of their right to refrain from making any self-incriminating statements. However, there is a common misperception that not being told your rights automatically means that your case must be thrown out. The failure to tell a suspect about Miranda rights prior to questioning is no guarantee of a dismissal or an overturned conviction, especially as it applies to a DUI arrest in California.

In a DUI traffic stop, a preliminary interrogation is permitted. The police may request routine information: your name, age, driver’s license, and registration. However, other questions do not have to be answered. You have the right to remain silent, but the police do not have to tell you that unless you are arrested. If a police officer can draw an incriminating “voluntary” statement from you before you are arrested, that statement can be used against you in court. DUI is considered a serious offense in southern California, so take it seriously; if you’re facing the charge, retain the services of an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney immediately.