Sonoma County Courthouse

Top Ten Questions > From Everyone

2. Does it matter that I wasn't read my rights?

interrogationUsually not, the smart Sonoma DUI attorneys will explain, because Miranda rights typically apply only to "custodial interrogations" (picture an interrogation room with a lightbulb and a chair) and typically apply only to verbal utterances (statements you make) which may be kept out of a court trial when rights were not read to you before questioning. If you think about it, in most DUI encounters, long before arrest the Sonoma County police officers have already noted observations of your driving behavior, personal conduct, breath alcohol odor, performance on field sobriety tests, and breath machine results, all non-verbal utterances, all way before you are placed in custody, thus not typically subject to Miranda warnings.

In Berkemer v. McCarty (1984) 468 U.S. 420, the United States Supreme Court held that an officer's roadside questioning of a driver detained during a routine DUI traffic stop (officer observes weaving, stops driver, orders him out of vehicle) does not constitute this “custodial interrogation” for Miranda purposes. The court rejected the contention that the initial police stop of a vehicle, by itself, renders the driver "in custody," explaining that such circumstances are not “custody” because the questioning is brief and took place in public. The court contrasted a police station interrogation, "which frequently is prolonged, and in which the detainee often is aware that questioning will continue until he provides his interrogators the answers they seek."

However, Santa Rosa DUI attorneys know that are many ways to fight a DUI. Click on Ten Tips for Fighting a DUI on this site for a more detailed discussion. Consult with a Sonoma County DUI lawyer about your specific case.


Any result portrayed was dependent on the facts of that case, and the results will differ if based on different facts.

Our DUI Lawyers

Dave Jake Schwartz is an Honors Graduate from UC Hastings Law School, and UC Davis, former Federal Judicial Clerk, and Nationally Qualified Sobriety Tests Practitioner. Member of the California Bar for 30 years, Sonoma County resident for over 20 years, handles only DUI cases, including thousands of Sonoma County DUIs and DMV hearings: first/multiple offenders, minors, seniors, tourists, undocumented immigrants, veterans, probation violations, suspended license, public intoxication, open container, minor in possession, child endangerment, collisions, hit and run, evading, resisting arrest.


Dave Jake Schwartz