William Maze's Michigan DUI Rights Card

This is my famous "DUI Rights Card." I've handed out close to 10,000 of these cards, but I've always offered disclaimers and caveats because the card might not work in any particular situation.

Nowadays, however, these cards might actually work! Last year, the US Supreme Court issued a really bizarre opinion that said that a criminal defendant must actually speak up in order to exercise his or her right to remain silent. I addressed this in a podcast, What to Say to the Police If You're Stopped after Drinking: Miranda Rights and the Right to Remain Silent During a Drunk Driving Investigation. This case made my DUI Rights Card more relevant than when I published it nearly a decade ago. There is a video circulating around the internet where a driver uses a very similar card to drive through a sobriety checkpoint without getting stopped by the police. 

Now, Michigan doesn't have sobriety checkpoints. They are illegal in Michigan. (They are also stupid and a waste of taxpayer money. They catch about 3 drunks for every 10,000 traffic stops, but police get to issue a lot of other money-generating tickets during the course of these encounters.) 

The DUI Rights Card is designed to educate you! You need to understand certain fundamentals before you are stopped by the police. Before you attempt to use the card at a roadside stop, read the card and understand what it says. Understand your rights before you are stopped and familiarize yourself with those rights in case you get stopped. A roadside stop is no time to lecture a police officer on your rights. Familiarize yourself with your rights and exercise those rights at a roadside investigation. Let the card speak for you and exercise your right to remain silent.

Be forewarned that the police officer might disregard the rights on the DUI Rights Card. Police officers will refuse to read these cards. If that happens, you've already "told" the officer what you need to through the card, but the officer refused to listen. In that case, you already know what you can and cannot be forced to do by the police officer. Whatever you do, DON'T LET THE POLICE OFFICER BULLY YOU INTO WAIVING YOUR RIGHTS. At that point, you are probably going to go to jail, but you are creating powerful legal defenses. On the flip side, if you are completely innocent, you are probably building a very good case and might be able to sue the police.

AGAIN: DON'T WAIVE YOUR RIGHTS. You might spend the night in jail, but it is far worse for you to cave into pressure and admit guilt or offer permission to search your vehicle. KEEP IN MIND THAT POLICE OFFICERS CAN BE VERY PERSUASIVE. The government has trained Officer Friendly on how to intimidate you, and that training is so good that innocent people have found themselves on death row for murder convictions based upon false confessions. Look at this: Innocence Project False Confessions and read John Grisham's book "The Innocent Man." Some pretty scary stuff! 

Please understand that my card is not a magic solution, and it will not prevent an obviously intoxicated driver from being charged. The card's sole purpose is to speak on your behalf and to help motorists exercise their rights at a roadside police stop. If you exercise the rights detailed in the DUI Rights Card, you will have some powerful defenses to any criminal charges.