In most cases, your Texas driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges will not get dropped if the police failed to read you your rights. Certain evidence may get thrown out, but there is often enough remaining evidence — including video of your field sobriety tests, breath or blood test results, and testimony from the arresting officer — to build a strong case against someone without their own admission of guilt or other incriminating statements.
What Are Miranda Rights?
Thanks to television and movies, most people have at least a vague idea of their 5th Amendment rights, commonly known as Miranda Rights. Before 1966, no one was “read their rights” following an arrest. However, in 1966 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to make it mandatory in Miranda v. Arizona.
The police must read you your rights following your arrest and before any interrogation. This includes:
- You have the right to remain silent
- Anything you say can be used against you in your case
- You have the right to the presence of an attorney
- If you cannot afford an attorney, the Court will appoint one
There are several loopholes for the police left in this process. The most common in DWI cases is that the police will ask you about your activities, whether you were drinking, and other questions before they arrest you. If they have not put you under arrest, they can ask you anything they want without having to read you your rights. If they subsequently arrest you for drunk driving, you can expect your answers to these questions to show up in the police report and as evidence against you.
We recommend telling the police officer who stopped you that you have been advised not to answer any questions beyond providing your name, driver’s license, registration, and insurance information. If they need to ask additional questions, they can ask you with your attorney present.
What Happens If the Police Failed to Read Me My Rights?
When the police question you following your arrest but do not read you your Miranda rights, any statements you make are likely to get dismissed by the Court. This can be a devastating mistake for the police in cases where your incriminating statements are the only evidence to prove your guilt, but this is rarely true in a drunk driving case.
When it comes to DWI cases, there is often a wealth of evidence to show impairment no matter if there is an admission of guilt or not. Having a confession or other incriminating statements matter very little to the outcome of most cases. Even without these statements, the prosecution still has:
- The arresting officer’s physical observations
- Video of field sobriety tests
- Chemical tests of breath or blood
- Testimony from the arresting officer about the level of impairment and impaired driving
- Other physical and subjective evidence
Most DWI cases in Texas can continue without a major impact even if the Court throws out the defendant’s statements. It is either a myth or wishful thinking that drunk driving charges will get dropped if Texas police did not read the accused their Miranda rights.
It Could Help Your Case If the Police Failed to Read You Your Rights
While it is unlikely that your case will get dismissed entirely because the police failed to read you your rights, it could weaken their case against you significantly. Bring it up with your attorney and discuss the circumstances and the statements you made. You may be able to pursue a defense based in part on this mistake.
The prosecution will want every bit of evidence they can collect to use against you, so anything you can take off the table is a positive thing. We can often get statements made in this type of situation barred from use in the trial. This may give us an advantage when it comes to negotiating a plea deal or asking for a probated sentence later.
Talk to a Texas DWI Defense Lawyer About Your Arrest Today
If the police arrested you and questioned you about a Texas DWI, the team from Eddington Worley is here to help. We will discuss the circumstances of your arrest and go to work building a strong defense on your behalf.
We will also identify any mistakes police made, including failing to read you your rights before interrogating you. Any mistakes they made could limit the evidence they can present and strengthen our argument for acquittal, probation, or a plea deal.
Call us today at 877-721-3423 to learn more about our services and to get started right away.