Motion to Suppress Statements because of Miranda Violations

New Jersey DWI defense attorneys preparing to defend a NJ DWI / DUI case to trial typically file several pretrial motions. One effective defense request in a New Jersey drunk driving defense is a motion to suppress any statements made by the accused driver because of a Miranda warning violation.

Miranda warnings were created by the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling Miranda vs. Arizona. The court's Miranda decision established that suspects must be advised of their right against self-incrimination and the right to have an attorney present during questioning. The court didn't specify the exact wording, but most Miranda warnings are similar to the following:

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have an attorney present now and during any future questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you at no cost."

In every DUI / DWI case, the central Miranda warning issue is whether the driver was actually under arrest during questioning. Police aren't required to issue Miranda warnings before making an arrest. Pre-arrest questions are typically investigative in nature and normally occur during relatively brief traffic stops.

Officers are permitted to ask questions such as "Where have you been?" "How much have you had to drink?" and "Have you been drinking?" without delivering a Miranda warning. If the driver answers those questions, his or her responses are admissible in a DUI / DWI case because they occurred before an arrest.

But any statements made by the driver after being arrested are subject to Miranda restrictions. Statements obtained as a result of an unlawful detention, arrest, or search may be suppressed from evidence.

Motorists accused of driving while intoxicated often fear that statements made to police will be used against them and result in an automatic conviction, but that's not necessarily true. A New Jersey drunk driving attorney who thoroughly understands Miranda warning issues will review any statements made by the driver to police after the arrest and may devise a strategy to have the evidence suppressed.

Every case is different. Please call us at Levow DWI Law, P.C. to discuss the specific issues in your case. Call (877) 593-1717, or email us at

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