If the officer did not find enough evidence to arrest you, the officer can let you go, maybe with a warning.
But if the officer does think he has enough evidence that you’ve committed a DWI, the officer can arrest you. At this point, you will be handcuffed and placed into the officer’s car.
The officer will take you to the police station, the Public Safety Center in downtown Raleigh, or to a mobile DWI vehicle where you will be processed, asked to blow into a “breathalyzer,” and, hopefully, released on a “written promise to appear.”
If the officer wants to ask you any questions during this period, since you are in custody, you must be “Mirandized” or informed of your rights to an attorney and your right to remain silent.
The “Miranda” rule usually does not play a role in DWI cases, but many clients ask about out.
In most DWI cases, the officer will not Mirandize you because the officer does not want to ask you any questions. That’s fine, and your rights have not been violated. The only time the officer is required to “read you your rights” is when he wishes to ask you questions and you are in custody.
In addition, if you make any “spontaneous utterances” or admissions on your own, without being asked questions, those are admissible in court even if you haven’t been “Mirandized.”
Once you get to the police station, jail, or mobile DWI unit, you will be processed and breathalyzed. It’s important for you to not make any statements during this process. These might be used against you.
The police officer will try to have you breathalyzed as soon after your arrest as possible. This is because the longer he waits, the less likely the breathalyzer machine will show a reading that reflects your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time you were driving.
Pay attention to who is watching you, and if at any point you are left unobserved, remember those facts so you can later tell your DWI lawyer. Instances when you are left alone could be valuable to your case, showing that the police did not exercise proper procedure when the breathalyzed you.
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