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Local DUI Attorney Reacts to Controversial Supreme Courts Reduction of Miranda Protection


The landmark 1996 Miranda decision, which most people know from “Miranda” Rights being read on television, has been severely crippled by the United States Supreme Court in Berghuis v. Thompkins.

Until recently the following was the rule of the land, “If the individual indicates in any manner, at any time prior to or during questioning, that he wishes to remain silent, the interrogation must cease.”

For nearly three hours, Defendant Van Chester Thompkins was held in a tiny interrogation room and hit with question after question from hard driving law enforcement officers about shooting a child. After maintaining his silence the whole time, the Defendant eventually broke down and “apologized” to officers for shooting another individual.

Local DUI Attorney Peter Buh of stated, “Back in the olden days, Americans under police suspicion could be protected by remaining silent. Now it seems the Supreme Court forces the duty upon the defendant who wants to invoke his or her right to remain silent to do so unambiguously. This is the equivalent of saying ’Speak UP! I can’t tell if you want to remain silent!’ It’s a strong decision that departs from Miranda’s original intention and, in effect, turns that case on its head.”

What might be surprising to some is that in the DUI Arrest process, police are permitted to interrogate at the scene of the arrest - or as they say, “Ask Questions.” During a DUI stop, the driver is not in custody and, therefore, Miranda protections don’t even come into play. This prompts many local DUI clients to say “I was never read my Miranda Rights!” which is likely true. The unfortunate response to them is that there weren’t entitled to them in the first place.

Not until someone is in custody and after arrest are the Miranda protections afforded. In the case of a DUI, this usually occurs after the police have gained more than their fair share of incriminating information. Truly a one-sided advantage for law enforcement to be able to gain information to be used against the driver without the driver even hearing reference to his or her rights.

“Field sobriety tests, questions at the scene, observations and admissions are all areas of incrimination for the officer and every driver should know they have the Right not to give any incriminating evidence, even before they are in custody” Attorney Buh said. “If they don’t want you to know your rights, you better learn them somewhere else. A local criminal defense attorney is a good starting point.”


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