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How DUI field tests really work

traffic stopBy Jessica Towne

Miranda warnings don't apply at the side of the road. The police do NOT have to read you the Miranda warning until you are in custody. When the police are talking to you at a traffic stop, they are gathering the evidence they need to determine if you can be arrested for DUI. They can, and will, ask you all kinds of questions during this process. Since you are not "in custody," they do not read the Miranda warning to you before they start asking you questions.

Read more: How DUI field tests really work

What you must know before you talk to the police

don't talk to the policeBy Jessica Towne

So, you've been arrested, say for something simple, like DUI. You've been read the Miranda warning and you feel that you know what is going on. I'd suggest you call your lawyer before you talk. Because you probably don't know the police don't have to follow the same rules that everyone else does. For instance:

5 scary things about police interviews

1. The police interrogators are allowed to lie to you.
They can make stuff up, like "we have you on camera" or "an eyewitness described you to us" or "your buddy is next door telling us that you planned this together" even if there is no video, no eyewitness and your buddy has exercised his right to remain silent (or is off at grandma's house in Florida). No judge is going to rule that your confession is inadmissible because the police lied. The jurors don't care that the police lied, and even though the judge will instruct the jury that what the police say in the recording is not evidence, the jury may consider the police statements. We just don't know.

Read more: What you must know before you talk to the police

When can the cops set up a roadblock in Georgia?

roadside checkpointBy Jessica Towne

Here in Gwinnett, as in all of Georgia, police are allowed to set up roadblocks or checkpoints without informing the public. Many other states don't allow roadblocks at all, or require that local newspaper publish the times, locations and duration in advance of a checkpoint. Not Georgia.

Roadblock rules-- for cops

Although the police can setup roadblocks, they do have to follow a few rules. They can't just pull over to the side of the road and hold an impromptu checkpoint. Nor can one be set up just because someone thinks it might be a good idea.

Read more: When can the cops set up a roadblock in Georgia?

Miranda Rights sentance by sentance

miranda warning on clarktowne.comBy Jessica Towne

Here are your rights and why you should exercise your right to remain silent. Parents, make sure your teenagers understand too.

1. You have the right to remain silent.

This means you never have to speak. Some people think it means you should remain silent until the police start asking you questions. This is a bad idea.

Read more: Miranda Rights sentance by sentance

One good reason not to drive with a mask on

mask on clarktowne.comby Jessica Towne

Police need a good reason to pull you over, such as noticing your broken tail light, or watching you fail to stop at a stop sign, or observing you texting while driving. While wearing a mask is perfectly legal in most cases, police could make the argument that wearing one while driving obscures your vision and gives an officer all the reason he needs to pull you over. Once he has you on the side of the road, he'll look into your car with his flashlight. If he observes anything that worries him, such as an empty beer can, or smells alcohol on your breath, you can expect that stop to last a long time.


Here is how you should handle a road stop.


And remember, even if the cop hasn't told you that anything you say may be held against you, it will be.
Here is what you need to know about your Miranda rights.

What the police don't want you to know about Miranda Rights

Miranda WarningBy Jessica Towne

Miranda rights are back in the news. The New York Times Science Section under "Well" on October 14, 2014 had an eye-opening article on juveniles and police interrogators. Researchers determined that the brains of adolescents are different than adult brains, and teens don't necessarily understand the implications of telling the police what their involvement in a crime may or may not have been.

It's not just juveniles who quickly waive their Miranda rights.

What are Miranda Rights?

These are very important rights that many of us have heard on TV, in the movies, and perhaps live and in person.

Read more: What the police don't want you to know about Miranda Rights

The scandalous practice of privatized probation

gavel on clarktowne.comBy Jessica Towne

The American Bar Association Journal just doesn't have the buzz around it that a Comedy Central late night show has, has but its article on privatized probation is just as scandalous as John Oliver's report on asset forfeiture. Perhaps Mr. Oliver will take this up next.

Georgia, as well as about a dozen other states, has privatized probation, partly in an effort to minimize state costs. It is not working out the way the government thought it would. It is, however, playing out pretty much the way criminal defense attorneys thought it would.

Read more: The scandalous practice of privatized probation

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