Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) or under the influence of drugs or alcohol is prohibited in Iowa. On suspicion of impaired or drunk driving, the police can stop your vehicle and ask you to take a field sobriety test, among other DUI tests. Understanding your rights with a field sobriety test is imperative to know what to do when pulled over for DUI and ensure that you do not implicate yourself inadvertently.
Were Your Miranda Rights Violated During Your Arrest?
You may never have anticipated having police take you into custody. After all, you have always done your best to be an upstanding citizen and to never purposefully break the law. However, circumstances in life can often put people in difficult predicaments, and you may have come under suspicion by Iowa police if they thought you were participating in questionable activity.
Maybe an officer stopped your vehicle for a broken taillight, and before you knew it, to your utter shock, the officer was placing you under arrest for drinking and driving. Perhaps you were out somewhere, another person started being unruly, and you had to defend yourself in a physical altercation. Unfortunately, police arrested you. No matter the scenario that led to your arrest, you still have rights.
Your Miranda Rights
Specifically, you have guaranteed protections under the law through your Miranda Rights. Sometimes, people refer to these rights as a Miranda warning because police are supposed to warn, or inform, you of these rights as they take you into custody. If they do not tell you your rights, you may have reason to use that detail as part of your criminal defense. Not telling you your rights could result in a judge deeming your arrest invalid or any evidence you provided as inadmissible in court.
To know whether an officer properly informed you, ask whether authorities told you this information:
Did the officer tell you that you have the right to remain silent?
Did authorities inform you that anything you said could be of use against you in court?
Did police explain that you have the right to an attorney?
Did law enforcement notify you that the court would provide you with an attorney if you could not afford one?
If officers did not ensure that you knew this information by informing you of your Miranda Rights before interrogating you, you may have unknowingly provided them with incriminating evidence that you otherwise could have kept to yourself. However, prosecutors may not have the ability to use that evidence if officers violated your rights.
Building a Defense
If a violation did occur, it may not necessarily mean that the court will throw out your entire case, but it is a possibility. Before you base your entire defense on the judge dismissing your case due to a violation of your rights, you may want to explore your legal options. This may help you determine how best to build a defense in the event that your case does proceed.
Most of us have seen police shows on TV where an officer informs someone in custody that they have a right to remain silent and be represented by an attorney during questioning. This statement, required by a 1966 U.S. Supreme Court decision, is known as your Miranda Rights.
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was enacted to protect citizens from any unlawful search and seizure by government authorities, including law enforcement officers. Unless under certain exceptions, it is illegal for a police officer to search a person's home, vehicle, or property without obtaining a valid search warrant or following the guidelines for conducting searches.