For those charged with OUI in Massachusetts, one of the more common questions, is what happens if the police officer does not advise you of your Miranda rights. Miranda warnings are well known to the general public through television shows featuring lawyers and police officers.
The Miranda warnings originated in the case of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966) a decision of the United States Supreme Court.
This case held that it order to protect a defendant privilege against self-incrimination, a police officer must advise the defendant of his or her Miranda rights prior to custodial interrogation.
The issue of when the rights under Miranda rights are triggered depends on whether the individual is in custody as defined by court decisions.
In the context of a Massachusetts OUI arrest, a motorist is not in custody in most cases until placed under arrest.
Court decision defining custody in the Miranda context have held that routine roadside questioning is not custodial under the Miranda decision.
Court decisions defining custody in the Miranda context have held that routine roadside questioning is not custodial under the Miranda decision. The Supreme Court came to this conclusion in Berkemer v. McCarty, where the defendant was stopped for a traffic violation and admitted to the officer that he consumed two beers and smoked marijuana prior to driving.
The Court held that Miranda rights are not invoked in this situation because roadside stops are usually a brief, a driver can expect a citation, and then a driver can expect release. Also, if there is questioning it occurs in a public space that is not police dominated, as opposed to an interrogation at a police station.
Although police do not need to recite Miranda rights during a roadside stop, if there is a custodial interrogation then Miranda rights are invoked regardless of whether the crime was a misdemeanor or a felony.
It is important to understand that your Miranda rights are invoked when you are arrested and a custodial interrogation occurs. If police do not advise you of your Miranda rights and question you, it is possible to exclude your responses from being admitted in a court of law. The procedure to challenge any statements you made during an OUI arrest is referred to as a motion to suppress hearing and is essentially a mini-trial on a selected legal issue that is heard by a judge. The judge hears testimony relating only to the legal issue of whether your rights under the Miranda decision were violated.