Clients frequently ask us about how Miranda rights can impact the prosecution of a Rhode Island DUI case. Miranda rights are a series of constitutional rights that the United States Supreme Court has said must be provided to a defendant in a criminal investigation in certain circumstances.
The Miranda warnings are required to be provided to a defendant prior to a custodial interrogation. A custodial interrogation is typically defined as police questioning of a suspect who has been arrested. If the police continue their questioning without providing the suspect his Miranda rights, it is likely that a Court would suppress and exclude from evidence any statements made by a suspect.
In the context of a Rhode Island DUI case and investigation, the same rules apply as dictated by the United States Supreme Court. This means that prior to a custodial interrogation (i.e. police questioning after the suspect has been arrested) the suspect must be provided with his or her Miranda rights. The Miranda rights are not legally required to successfully prosecute a DUI charge.
While Miranda rights are not legally required to successfully prosecute a DUI case in Rhode Island, certain statutorily created rights are absolutely required. The two series of rights are commonly referred to as the “Rights for Use at Scene” and the “Rights for Use at the Station.” The “Rights for Use at Scene” contain most of the United States Supreme Court's Miranda rights. They also include rights that must be provided to DUI suspects pursuant to the Rhode Island DUI statute.
If the Police fail to provide a DUI suspect with either his or her “Rights for Use at Scene” or “Rights for Use at the Station”, this would be completely fatal to the prosecution's case. It is required by law that the prosecution prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a suspect was advised of the above-mentioned rights.
If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Rhode Island, it is important that your case is reviewed by an experienced DUI defense attorney to ensure that the Police provided you with the proper rights. If they have failed to provide you with the rights to which you were entitled, a skilled defense attorney will be able to exploit that fact and potentially defeat your case.