" . . . .  you have the right to remain silent, everything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law . . . you have the right to the presence of an attorney during all questioning . . . . if you wish to have an attorney present and cannot afford one, an attorney will be appointed to you at no cost . . ."


  • The concept of your Miranda rights is very simple.  It means exactly what it says. You do not have to talk to the police without an attorney present.  The police must read you your rights if they want to ask you questions which might incriminate you and you are either under arrest for some criminal offense or otherwise detained and deprived of freedom of movement.

  • Countless cases have been won by the prosecutor and police by the mere fact that persons suspected of crimes simply to do not keep their mouths shut when the police ask them questions. This is especially true of the DUI or DRUNK DRIVING case.  There is nothing more harmful to the defense of a DUI or other criminal case than to have the prosecution use your own words against you.  Admissions play well with a jury.  They simply ask themselves, "Why would he say that to the police if it wasn't true?".  Prosecutors now this and will cram your own words down your throat.

  • So what do we do when the police want to ask questions after a traffic stop?  If you haven't been drinking answer the questions.  However, if you have been drinking, even if it is only one "little bitty" beer - POLITELY REFUSE TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS.  Be aware of your Arizona Drivers Rights.

  • There is no requirement under Arizona law that requires you to speak with the police, or to answer their questions. If you have been drinking, the police are most likely going to figure it out anyway.  You are most likely going to be arrested.  There is nothing you can say that will prevent that.  You cannot talk your way out of the arrest.  Begging, pleading, crying for the officer to "Give You A Break" will just be used against you in court to prove that you were impaired, knew that you were impaired, and were trying to convince the officer just to let you go.  This is proof of consciousness of guilt and it is admissible against you in court.

  • Simply avoid speaking with the officer at all costs.  Tell him or her that you are not going to speak with them under any circumstances.

  • Hand over your driver license, registration and insurance paperwork and remain seated in the vehicle. 

  • If the officer asks you to get out of the car, explain that you are not going to take any field tests under any circumstances.  Tell the officer to charge you with an offense or let you go. 

  • This will generally draw the response that you are under arrest.  The officer will then ask you to get out of the car.  At this point you must comply with the officer or be charged with resisting arrest.

  • Simply get out of the car, hold out your hands for the handcuffs, and keep your mouth shut.

  • Police in Arizona cannot arrest you for civil traffic violations.  However, you will probably be arrested for DUI or some other criminal offense and taken to jail.  This will basically be "contempt of cop" at this point.  In the police officer's mind, you have not done as asked even though it is your legal right to do so. Police officers want to be in control.  They do not like NOT being in control in any given situation. By exercising your right not to speak with him and take his field tests you are exercising control. The officer will most likely decide he is going to "show you" who is in control and place you under arrest and take you to jail. If this happens, don't freak out, you will most likely be released within a few hours.

  • If you are arrested for DUI, the police officer will most likely invoke "implied consent" in order to get a breath or blood test from you.  In Arizona you must submit to this breath or blood test or lose your driver license for 1 year.  Even if you refuse to take the test, the police will get a search warrant and strap you down and take your blood if necessary.  For more information on this subject visit "Implied Consent".

  • Again, don't worry about being taken to jail. You will most likely be released on your own recognizance within a few hours.  A few hours of jail is better than cooperating with the police in providing evidence that they will later use against you in court to try and convict you of DUI.

. . . . . it is true, that what you don't say to the police won't hurt you!


Below are some general considerations and information regarding your Miranda rights


  • If the police are investigating criminal activity and you are not a suspect but a potential witness or you have other information which could be helpful to their investigation then it is your civic duty to cooperate and help as much as possible.

  • However, if you think for even an instant, and I am talking nano-seconds here,  that the police suspect you of some criminal activity,  Refuse to do any talking.  Just politely say NO! --- not without the presence of an attorney! 

  • Don't fall into the clever police ploy of  "we just want to get your side of the story".  Police do want your side of the story so they can use it against you in a future prosecution. Police are experts at interrogation.  You are not an expert at being interrogated, and if you speak to the police without an attorney present, you will be at their mercy and likely provide them information which could lead to criminal charges and a possible conviction.

  • Don't think for an instant that if you just tell your story the police will understand. They don't and won't. You are not as smart or as clever as you think you are when speaking with the police. You are not going to talk them into or out of anything.  This is especially true if you have been drinking or using drugs.  If you are drunk, stoned, loaded, or whatever, you will be especially easy pickins' for the police.  You don't stand a chance.  If the police suspect you of a criminal offense the easiest way to get a conviction is with words out of your mouth. They will do anything they can within the confines of the law to get you to speak with them. Do not help them out.  KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!

  • You have an absolute right to legal representation during any police questioning.  Don't let the police try to convince you otherwise.  The police can lie to you, and trick you into talking to them. In Arizona, police can tape-record your telephone conversations with them, without your permission.   NEVER speak to a police officer over the telephone for any reason.

  • The police may say something to you like -- "if you didn't do anything wrong what do you have to hide, just tell us what happened". 

  • Your Answer:  I will be more than happy to speak with you with my attorney present, when would you like to schedule an appointment ?   What generally will happen at this point is the police will lose interest in speaking with you.  Why? If you have an attorney present, the attorney will prevent you from incriminating yourself, which is exactly what the police want you to do.  It makes their job easier.  It is easier to convict you in court if you have made some statement to the police or even other people about your involvement.


  • Everyone has seen on TV the police reading someone their rights.  You know . . "you have the right to remain silent . . . anything you say will be used against you in court."  A common mistake made regarding this "reading of rights" is most people think the police have to read you these rights before they ask you any questions.

  • NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH !! The police are only required to "read" you your "rights" prior to custodial interrogation.  This means the police only have to read you your rights if you are in their custody, generally under arrest and not free to leave their presence, and they want to ask you questions.  If the police don't want to ask you questions after they arrest you, they don't have to read you these rights. 

  • If you are not in custody, for example, the police come to your house, or call you on the phone and want to speak with you, the police do not have to read you your rights prior to questioning.  If you remotely think the police suspect you of some criminal activity, respectfully decline to answer any questions without the presence of an attorney.

  • The police can stop you on the roadway walking or driving your car, place you in handcuffs and call it investigative detention or officer safety reasons, ask you all sorts of questions and they are not required to read you your rights.  Why don't they have to read you your rights?  Because, under the law, investigative detention or being placed in handcuffs for officer safety reasons is not considered under arrest.

  • Some final thoughts.  If you decide not to follow the above suggestions and decide to speak with the police without the presence of an attorney DO NOT speak with them unless the conversation is tape-recorded.  Most reputable police officers will not have a problem with this.  Insist on it.  In fact if you are able take a tape-recorder with you and make your own copy.  Do not rely on a police officer taking notes or assuring you that a report will be written.  Police will often times "forget" to put in notes or reports facts which are favorable to you.  Police sometimes suffer from faulty memory as to exactly what was said during the conversation, especially when recalling the conversation in court.  So if you must speak with the police without an attorney present, insist on the conversation being tape-recorded.


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