Your right to an attorney is protected and guaranteed by the 6th Amendment of the United States Constitution. In DUI cases, this right is not as clear cut as one might think. Your right to counsel correlates with your 5th Amendment Miranda rights. The Miranda rights will be read after you have been placed in police custody and you've been subject to custodial interrogation. This means a DUI suspect will usually not be read Miranda rights until much later at the police station. They may not be read upon being handcuffed and put in a police car. It's crucial to your case that you know your rights before a DUI arrest takes place.
Anything you say before your Miranda rights can be used against you as a spontaneous statement. It is always a good idea upon being asked any incriminating questions to remain silent. After hearing your Miranda rights and requesting an attorney, anything you say can also be used against you.
Could you be waiving your rights?
Any statement you make could be an admission in court.
You may be confused about when you are allowed the opportunity to speak with an attorney in a DUI case. The law on this topic varies significantly varies from state to state. The right to counsel under the 6th Amendment is a federal right that serves as the minimum requirement for DUI cases. Each individual state has the discretion to expand that right. Depending on your state's constitution and your local laws you may be entitled to speak with an attorney before custodial interrogation (or before you decide whether you wish to submit to a chemical test).
The confusion can help in defending your case.
Depending on the laws of your jurisdiction, this confusion could help you defend your case. After the DUI arrest, always ask to speak with an attorney immediately before performing any field sobriety tests. While suspects are entitled to an attorney at that time, the request may be taken as a "refusal" to cooperate. The failure to properly advise rights could make or break the case.
In some jurisdictions, suspects don't have right to counsel prior to field sobriety tests. In other states, your rights attach once blood, breath, or urine sample is requested. The right is limited and time may be restricted. The officer must inform the suspect that no such rights exist and failure to do so could help significantly in your defense.