Louisiana DWI Stop – Your Right to Remain Silent
Police officers sporting body cameras on their uniforms are becoming widespread throughout Louisiana. The cameras are typically attached to an officer’s clothing, helmet, or sunglasses. They capture video and audio recordings of DWI checkpoints and DWI stops, arrests, and interrogations, making it all the more important to remain silent during a DWI stop until a DWI attorney is present.
However, years of reviewing countless hours of body camera footage from DWI arrests, have made it increasingly apparent that few people are aware of their right not to say anything to the officer who has pulled them over. Although the person’s gut feeling is often not to speak, he/she ends up doing so on false hope that cooperation will get them off the hook, or he/she just becomes nervous and intimidated by the police officer. The result is usually not favorable – incriminating admissions and visual signs of intoxication (e.g. slurred speech), all gifted to the prosecutor in the form of videographic evidence from the officer’s body camera.
Your Right to Remain Silent:
All statements, including those made during DWI stops must be given voluntarily by the suspect. In Arizona v. Miranda, the United States Supreme Court held that a statement is not given voluntarily unless the person making it is first made aware of his/her right to remain silent by the officer’s reading of “Miranda Warnings” to him/her before “custodial interrogation” (“after an arrest and before an interrogation”). In other words, the officer’s duty to advise the suspect of the Miranda Warnings is not triggered until the person is under arrest. Therefore, any statements given by the driver “prior” to being “under arrest”are fair game for officers and prosecutors to use in a DWI case against the driver.
Invoke Your 5th Amendment Rights!
The 5th Amendment gives you the right to remain silent whether or not Miranda Warnings are given, so USE IT! Once stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated in Louisiana, the driver’s response to the officer’s questions should be limited to: “I respectfully decline to answer any questions under the 5th Amendment. Am I under arrest or am I free to leave?”
DWIs can have other serious consequences, so if you’ve been arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, contact a skilled DWI attorney at the Russell Law Firm. The Russell Law Firm represents clients arrested for DWI throughout the State of Louisiana, including the parishes of East Baton Rouge Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, Plaquemines Parish, Livingston Parish, Ascension Parish, Jefferson Parish, Orleans Parish, St. Charles Parish, Terrebonne Parish, Assumption Parish, Lafayette Parish, Lafourche Parish, Lafayette Parish, St. Landry Parish, Evangeline Parish; and the cities of Baton Rouge, Livingston, Denham Springs, Walker, Gonzales, Donaldsonville, Port Allen, Brusly, Addis, Lafayette, Napoleonville, Kenner, Harvey, Marrero, Estelle, Gretna, Metairie, New Orleans, Terrytown, Westwego, Ville Platte, Eunice, Opelousas, Thibodaux, Houma, Belle Chasse, and Hahnville.
DWI Lawyers at the Russell Law Firm, LLC are skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable about Louisiana DWI laws, related non-DWI statutes, and how to evaluate evidence that law enforcement and prosecutors might try to use against you. If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DWI and is facing DWI charges, contact a DWI attorney at the Russell Law Firm at 225-307-0088. We offer free, no obligation initial consultations.
By: Danny Russell, Baton Rouge area personal injury attorney, licensed in Louisiana and admitted in the following courts:
- All Louisiana District Courts
- All Louisiana Appellate Courts
- Louisiana Supreme Court
- Middle District Court of Louisiana
- Western District Court of Louisiana
- Eastern District Court of Louisiana
- Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Information furnished herein is only general and not a substitute for personalized legal advice.
****The photograph above is not a depiction of any actual event or scene, but merely a dramatization.