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Chavez-Ortega v State – by their deeds you shall know an arrest

Chavez-Ortega v. State, A14A2188, Reversed, March 24, 2015. By their words, they will deceive, but by their deeds, ye shall know them.  Jonathan Chavez-Ortega was charged with DUI. Chavez was arrested by Cobb County Police.  He was initially questioned and then he was detained, placed in handcuffs, and put in the rear of a police car while they investigated the situation. The Officer informed Chavez that he was not arrested yet and would be free to go if his story checked out.

When the other officers arrived to question Chavez, they read Chavez his Miranda rights, Chavez repeatedly told the officers he did not want to talk to them but they continued to question him anyway. The Georgia Court of Appeals held that an ordinary reasonable person would have believed that they were in custody for purposes of Miranda Warnings by being handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car despite being told that he was not under arrest.  The Appeals Court concluded that Chavez was not being detained for Officer safety but was being asked questions to establish his guilt regarding a criminal offense distinguishing this case from other cases where brief detention was found not to be custody for purposes of Miranda rights.

-Author: George Creal

Georgia DUI Lawyer | Atlanta DUI Attorney