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Can I Refuse A Breathalyzer Test In Maryland?


The short answer to this question is: yes, you can refuse a breathalyzer test in Maryland. However, under Maryland’s implied consent laws, there are consequences for refusing a breathalyzer test. The question then becomes: is it more beneficial to refuse the breath test, or should you take it?

In Maryland, prosecutors can prove that you were legally drunk at the time you were pulled over by submitting a breath test to the court. If your breath test shows that you had a BAC of .08 or higher, they have everything they need to prove their case. Without this evidence, they must prove that you were drunk by other means, which is significantly harder. In this article, the Maryland DUI attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered will attempt to answer the question: when is it a good idea to refuse a breath test?

What are the consequences of refusing a breath test in Maryland? 

When you’re issued a state of Maryland driver’s license, it is implied that if you are stopped by police who demand you take a breathalyzer test, you will do so. It is part of the agreement you make when the state of Maryland allows you to drive. Therefore, refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test has serious consequences.

Those who refuse to take a breathalyzer test will have their licenses suspended for 270 days. That’s for the first time. If it is a second or third time, the state can suspend your license for two years.

There is only one way to get your driver’s license restored after refusing a breath test. You must agree to install an interlock ignition device on your vehicle at your own cost. You will have to pay to get the device installed. You will further have to pay for the service on a monthly basis. This device requires that the driver blow into a tube before their car will start. It is meant to prevent individuals from driving under the influence of alcohol. Those who trigger the device enough times will have their suspension restored and may not even be able to drive with the interlock ignition device.

Are there any benefits to refusing a breath test in Maryland? 

Under Maryland law, any individual who is found driving with a BAC higher than .08 can be convicted of DUI. So, the state will have a huge piece of evidence they can submit to the court if you choose to blow into the device. Without this evidence, it is more difficult for the state to prove you were drunk at the time you were driving. Nonetheless, you can be charged and convicted with both DUI and have your license automatically suspended if you refuse.

There may be certain scenarios in which refusing a breath test benefits you. You are allowed to consult with an attorney before submitting a breath test. The officer must have the breath sample within two hours of pulling you over. If you can consult with an attorney, you should.

It’s also possible that an attorney can dispute the results of a breath test in court. Breathalyzers are not foolproof and occasionally give inflated readings. You will want to weigh your options carefully.

Talk to a Maryland DUI Attorney Today 

Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered represent the interests of Maryland residents who have been charged with DUI. Call our Bel Air criminal lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing your defense strategy immediately.

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