Effective Waivers of Rights under Miranda following a DUI Arrest

People can hear their Miranda warnings before an arrest or following an arrest for a DUI charge.  Recently the Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled on what is an effective waiver of an individual’s rights under Miranda, which could determine if certain statements or actions, such as field sobriety evaluations or state chemical blood or breath tests, are deemed to be admissible in a trial against a criminal defendant.

The Court of Appeals reiterated that a person must knowingly and intelligently waive their rights under Miranda in order for custodial statements to be admissible against an individual. In Gray v. State, the Court of Appeals decided that when a criminal defendant told the officer after being read Miranda that he did not understand that he was giving up certain rights, that it was “incumbent on the interrogating officers to take steps to ensure that [the defendant] understood what his rights were and that he would be waiving them by proceeding to make a statement.”  The Court of Appeals further stated that in that case that the officer incompletely described the individuals rights and even erroneously told the defendant that “he would not be giving up any rights.”  The Court found that based on the “totality of the circumstances, we conclude that [the defendant] did not knowingly and intelligently waive his rights under Miranda.”

This ruling by the Court of Appeals continues to define what a knowing waiver is when it comes to custodial interrogation.  “Miranda warnings are intended to preserve a defendant’s Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination…,” a violation of these rights might mean that certain evidence cannot be used in a trial.  An analysis of a potential Miranda violation could have an extreme impact on how a criminal defense attorney will handle your DUI offense.  A Miranda violation may limit what kind of evidence a prosecutor would be allowed to introduce at a trial and could limit whether things such as field sobriety evaluations or breath or blood tests would be allowed to be used in a trial of the case.

If you find yourself facing DUI charges and have questions about what to do next, contact the firm of Baker & Slider at (706) 208-1514 for a free consultation.  It is important to know your rights and your options, as DUI charges can have a long lasting impact.

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