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Miranda Rights: What Is a Miranda Warning and Does It Apply to DUI Cases?

Bubba Head DUI Lawyer

By: William C. Head, Criminal Defense Attorney Atlanta GA and ABA Board-Certified DUI Attorney

Miranda Rights Bubba Head

The term “Miranda Rights” is derived from an internationally-famous criminal case, Miranda v. Arizona, decided by the United States Supreme Court, in 1966. The Miranda rights case changed the law in the United States as it relates to the due process of law, under the federal Fifth Amendment, and the right to counsel, once a citizen is in custody and charged with a crime, under the federal Sixth Amendment.

In the United States, no person’s rights can fall below the “floor” established by these Constitutional provisions. When custody is clearly manifested, police are trained to verbally give the Miranda Warning to suspects in custody, to prevent any incriminatory statements or evidence from later being excluded in a court proceeding, as a result of a suppression motion being filed by a criminal defense attorney.

When police ELICIT from the person in custody post-arrest, testimonial, custodial evidence, then a Miranda violation takes place. Many exceptions have been carved from the original 1966 ruling, so hire the best criminal defense attorney to fight for the exclusion of incriminatory breathalyzer evidence.

What Are the Miranda Rights?

Before trying to give a Miranda Rights definition, by posting the Miranda Rights, below, the language helps explain the impact and scope of the Miranda Rights. Because EVERY part of the Miranda notice must be given and in the order shown below, it is desirable to have this recorded on video or audio, at a minimum.

Many police departments have interrogation rooms designed and set up precisely to serve this purpose, of documenting the giving of a Miranda Warning, prior to questioning a person in custody, or even people who have walked into the precinct, or willingly said something dumb, like, “I have nothing to hide.”

Due to many old Clint Eastwood movies about Dirty Harry, no American should be asking, “what are Miranda rights?” Plus, in light of police-involved shootings of unarmed citizens in various incidents from the last decade, many states (e.g., South Carolina) are now changing their laws and moving to equip every law enforcement officer with a body camera or at least a camera in their vehicle.

What Is the Miranda Warning?


  1. You have the right to REMAIN silent.
  2. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a Court of Law.
  3. You have the right to a lawyer.
  4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you.
  5. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?
  6. With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me and answer questions?

Does a Miranda Warning Have to be Given in a Georgia DUI case?

Georgia case law is atrocious on this legal point. Current Georgia case law has held that no Miranda warnings need to be given by a Georgia police officer to a handcuffed DUI arrestee. Even though the arrestee is undeniably IN CUSTODY until AFTER the person has self-incriminated, by taking the Georgia implied consent law test of his or her blood, breath or urine.

What detained citizens hear and confuse with a Miranda advisement is the GA implied consent law notice, which is verbally given to the arrested citizen.

The GA Case That Deprives a Citizen Arrested for DUI in Georgia of Miranda Rights

The Georgia Supreme Court made its Miranda Rights case ruling, in Rackoff v. State, in 2006. That opinion stated that because the alcohol results were dissipating, this urgency justified tossing the Constitution aside. Other states, like North Carolina, have similar implied consent laws, but (after arriving at the police station with the DUI-DWI detainee), DO GIVE the Miranda warning, as well as the NC implied consent advisement.

Then the officer leaves the room and permits him or her to have 30 minutes to contact anyone they wish, including a criminal defense lawyer.

The Georgia high court had this footnote, justifying the long-standing exception to the Constitution:

The privilege against self-incrimination, which Miranda was designed to protect, is not implicated in blood test or breath test cases.   Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757, 86 S.Ct. 1826, 16 L.Ed.2d 908 (1966); Welch v. State, 254 Ga. 603, 606-607, 331 S.E.2d 573 (1985) (compelled blood test does not violate Georgia right against self-incrimination).

This ruling is directly contrary to the essence and the purpose of Miranda v. Arizona. One noted DUI lawyer in California, Lawrence Taylor, calls this “the DUI Exception to the Constitution.”

Plus, two important recent rulings from the United States Supreme Court, Birchfield v. North Dakota (2016) and Missouri v. NcNeely (2013) have issued opinions that have stepped back from the exigency of dissipating alcohol levels that were a pivotal issue in the Schmerber case, for obtaining implied consent testing.

Our DUI Law Firm’s Pending Appeal on the Constitutionality of Breath Testing

The US Supreme Court has ruled (in the Birchfield case) that a breath alcohol test is not a Fourth Amendment (search and seizure) violation, but the Georgia Constitution, under Paragraph XVI protecting our citizens from self-incrimination clearly applies to the series of incriminatory “acts” of blowing into an Intoxilyzer 9000 device, pursuant to a series of police officer instructions.

William C. Head obtained a favorable ruling in a Cobb State Court case in late 2016, and this is currently under appeal in the Georgia appellate courts. So, if you have a high breath test, don’t plead guilty without talking to us.

Hire the Best Atlanta DUI Lawyer to Fight to Overturn the Rackoff Case

Thus, new state Constitutional challenges to breath alcohol testing under Georgia DUI laws are pending in our appellate courts. These GA constitutional provisions provide the “ceiling” of our citizens’ rights. These current appeals may change the prior holding that Miranda is not needed until AFTER self-incriminatory breath alcohol testing is required from a person in CUSTODY.

What Kind of Attorney Do I Need? Searching for The Best DUI Lawyer

After being arrested for DUI in Georgia, the first thing to do it identify an expert on Georgia DUI law through top attorney ratings. Look at who is BEHIND the law firm, review each of the trial lawyers’ credentials, and check out the criminal defense attorney who leads the law office. Every experienced DUI lawyer in the law firm must have full command of DUI laws and possess training in all aspects of successfully challenging the driving under the influence criminal case.

This successful defense record must include suppressing breath alcohol tests, and knowing every prior appellate decision on the Georgia implied consent law. An increasing number of drugged driving cases require that our criminal defense lawyers know how to challenge a GBI blood alcohol or drugs test. Being an INSTRUCTOR in the three NHTSA standardized field sobriety tests (SFST) is also necessary.

The best DUI attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia will offer you a FREE consultation, explain how their criminal attorneys search for a successful defense in your case, and aggressively represent clients to the maximum extent the law allows. Limit your search to DUI lawyers who have legitimate lawyer ratings and a history of proven results on knowing how to beat a DUI. If we are the criminal defense attorneys for you, ask us about our attorney payment plans.

Call our DUI defense lawyers NOW, 24-7, for an initial case review and FREE legal advice: 404-567-5515, or email our criminal justice attorneys.


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