Archive for June 13th, 2011

Miranda Rights and Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

On the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark opinion Miranda v. Arizona, I thought it would be appropriate to address one of the most frequently asked questions that we encounter at Oberman & Rice: The officer did not read me my Miranda rights; what are the consequences of this omission? Unfortunately, all too often I have to explain to a client charged with a Tennessee DUI that the failure of the arresting officer to advise him of his Miranda rights will essentially have no impact on his case.

Why? Although popular culture has made Miranda a household word, movies and television shows do not fairly depict the complexity of when Miranda applies or the remedy available when Miranda is not explained to a criminal defendant.  Generally, the prosecution cannot use statements made by a suspect during a custodial interrogation unless it first demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards to secure the privilege against self-incrimination (Miranda rights).  At issue most often is the definition of “custodial interrogation.”  You should consult an experienced attorney to determine whether the statements you made were pursuant to a custodial interrogation.  If so, your lawyer may be able to keep the prosecution from using those statements against you in court (also known as suppression of evidence).

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The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Field Sobriety Test (HGN)

Have you ever seen a law enforcement officer examining the eyes of a motorist along the roadside or on television?  Ever wonder what the officer is looking for?  The officer is most likely administering one of the three standardized field sobriety tests to help determine if the motorist is impaired.  In this week’s podcast, host Steve Oberman will provide a summary of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, also referred to as HGN, used by law enforcement to assist in the detection of impaired motorists.

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Additional information about the Tennessee offense of DUI can be found on the Oberman & Rice websites at www.tndui.com and www.duiknoxville.com.  You may also contact Steve or Sara for more information by calling (865) 249-7200.

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