Many times in a Georgia DUI investigation the arresting officer will never read you Miranda warnings.  Miranda warnings come from the 1965 U.S. Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona, where it was alleged that after hours of interrogation, the suspect signed a confession- though he was never advised of his right to an attorney, or his right to remain silent and not speak with law enforcement.  For Miranda to take effect in your case, generally, you must be in custody and the officer must be asking you questions about the crime you are suspected of committing.  In a DUI case, Miranda would therefore be necessary if your cuffed and on the way to the jail when the officer asks how much and what type of drinks you had consumed.  Any answer you give, without having been read Miranda, should be suppressed by your judge.  Georgia law enforcement officers are trained that they must advise you of your Miranda rights before engaging in this type of questioning.

The problem with DUI arrests and Miranda is that the first prong is not usually satisfied.  You are hardly ever in custody when the officer starts prying into your night and trying to elicit incriminating statements from you.  More times than not, within a second of approaching your vehicle and smelling alcohol, the officer is asking if you’ve been drinking, what you’ve been drinking, where, when, etc.  These questions and your responses are typically allowed into trial by judges, since you were not under arrest at the time, and free to not answer the officer’s questions.  Remember, only when you are under arrest- usually cuffed and verbally told you’ve been placed under arrest- is Miranda required before any further questioning.  You are always free to not answer questions, both before and after you have been arrested.

In Georgia, Miranda concepts and Georgia statutory protections apply to field sobriety testing as well.  You cannot be forced to commit actions that incriminate yourself.  Therefore, all field sobriety testing is voluntary, though the officer investigating you will hardly ever tell you this.  Even after you’ve been arrested, you cannot be forced to submit to field sobriety testing.  At this point, if the officer wants more evidence, he would need to read you your Miranda rights and have you waive the rights and agree to do any further field testing.

Remember, Georgia Implied Consent Law is separate from the principles covered by Miranda.  Under Georgia’s Implied Consent Law, you are required to give a test of your blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substances, but you always have the right to refuse the testing.  Unfortunately, a refusal will always result in at least a one year suspension of your license, with no work, or limited permits available.  It is absolutely vital to contact an attorney as soon as possible after being arrested for DUI, especially when facing a refusal situation- you will only have 10 business days to appeal the officer’s suspension of your license before it goes into effect following your arrest.