How do Miranda rights fit together with Indiana DUIs? You know the drill: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you.” But when does this actually apply? In the State of Indiana, police aren’t required to read you Miranda rights during a DUI investigation, even if they’re questioning you.
The Rule in Indiana
Here’s the rule: Miranda rights only apply if you’re in custody and being interrogated. This seems like a simple standard until you look at how it’s applied to traffic stops. During a traffic stop, you’re not free to leave, and the police are definitely asking you questions. Does this count as being in custody? No!
Courts have somehow decided that a traffic stop doesn’t qualify as being in custody, and therefore you’re not entitled to Miranda rights when you’re pulled over. It is not fair, and it is not logically consistent.
When Does Miranda Matter?
There are still cases where it’s possible to argue that Miranda should’ve been read sooner. If you were involved in an accident, for example, or if the investigating officer already has some reason to suspect intoxication. The deck, however, is stacked in favor of the State.
At our law firm, we love to make Miranda an issue in DUI cases, even though it’s not something that’s typically argued. It’s a way for us to catch the prosecutor off guard and potentially put our clients in a better position. If you’re talking to the police, know that anything you say can and will be used against you. In many situations, it’s best to exercise your right to remain silent.
You Must Take the Chemical Test
Keeping your mouth shut is generally a good idea, but there’s one specific scenario where it can work against you. When police want you to submit to a chemical test—breath or blood—you’re obligated to go through with it. If you don’t respond, your silence will be taken as a refusal. Refusing a chemical test will earn you an automatic one-year license suspension.
Don’t say more than you have to, and never refuse the chemical test.