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DUI Arrests: 3 Constitutional Rights You Should Know

Any time you are arrested for suspected DUI, your constitutional rights may come in to play.

Regardless of what state you are arrested in, any person in police custody is guaranteed certain rights by the U.S. Constitution. Many of these rights are often recounted by police at the time of the arrest through what is commonly known as a Miranda warning, which advises those arrested on their “right to remain silent.”

But what else does the Constitution guarantee for those arrested for an alleged DUI? Here are three constitutional rights you should know:

  1. Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment protects people against unreasonable search and seizure. For automobile stops, the Fourth Amendment generally requires that a police officer have a reasonable and articulable suspicion that a motorist has broken the law before he conducts a traffic stop. If the officer can’t describe his probable cause for stopping your vehicle, evidence obtained during the stop, such as your blood alcohol content, may be ruled inadmissible.
  2. Fifth Amendment. The Fifth Amendment grants an array of rights to criminal defendants, such as the right against self-incrimination, and a prohibition on double jeopardy. For those arrested for alleged DUI, another important right granted by the Fifth Amendment is the right to remain silent, the first right recounted in the Miranda warning. Though police are not obligated to give an arrested person a Miranda warning regarding their right to remain silent, failure to do so may make your answers to any police questioning inadmissible in court. However, anything you say before being placed under arrest may still be used against you, as Miranda rights don’t attach until a person is in police custody.
  3. Sixth Amendment. The Sixth Amendment guarantees criminal defendants the assistance of counsel. Generally, this means that a person charged with a crime who cannot afford to hire an attorney may be provided with one free of charge. The availability of a public defender for those arrested for DUI may depend on the severity of charges, as well as the state in which you are being charged. In addition, even those who qualify for a public defender may wish to consider hiring a private lawyer that specializes in DUI defense.

To learn more about your rights during and after a DUI arrest, head over to FindLaw’s DUI / DWI section or download our free Guide to DUI Charges.

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