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Can I Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer Test if Pulled Over for a DUI?

If you ever find yourself in a precarious situation, requested to pull over by police on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), you may wonder: can you refuse a breathalyzer test?

By law, it does not require taking a breathalyzer test in Maryland; however, refusing to do so can come with severe consequences. Only the weeks will determine if that decision ultimately helped or hurt your legal case.

Our most recent blog discusses what happens if you refuse a breathalyzer test and how to beat a DUI refusal. If you need to speak to an experienced attorney about a DUI or personal injury case, contact the Law Office of Robert Castro in Calvert County, Maryland, today.

Difference Between Field Sobriety &  Breathalyzer Test

You might think that the field sobriety test and the breathalyzer test are the other way around, but they are not.

You blow into a device that measures your blood-alcohol concentration during a breathalyzer test. A BAC of .08 or higher is already a DWI (driving while impaired) in Maryland.

Meanwhile, a field sobriety test is a set of tests police administer to determine if a driver is drunk. The tests may include the one-leg stand, walk-and-turn, and horizontal gaze nystagmus. Field sobriety tests are unreliable, as an estimated one-third of sober drivers fail the test.

Breathalyzer Laws in Maryland

Signing paperwork to receive a driver’s license in Maryland implies that you will consent to a breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) if law enforcement suspects you are driving under the influence.

Although you may refuse a breathalyzer test (except for cases where police suspect DUI in an accident that resulted in injury or death), the penalties for refusing a breathalyzer test are steep.

Refusing a breathalyzer test in Maryland will automatically result in a 270-day suspension. Failing a breathalyzer test, meanwhile, may result in a 60-day license suspension. The latter ensures that you can drive sooner than if you refuse a breath test, getting denied driving rights during an MVA hearing.

When to Take a Breathalyzer Test?

Determining whether to take a breathalyzer test can be a difficult decision. If unsure, tell the police you would like to speak with a criminal defense attorney Calvert County for advice. A Calvert County DUI lawyer can help you decide whether you should take the breathalyzer or refuse one.

It is a recommendation to take a breathalyzer test if you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), even if they request you to pull over for suspicion of driving under the influence in a non-commercial vehicle. Refusing a breathalyzer test can cause suspension of your CDL within a year up to a lifetime ban.

Another reason to consider submitting to a DUI test is if you rely on your vehicle daily to get to work and drive kids to school, especially if you live in an area without public transportation.

Can You Still Drive After Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

If police suspect you were driving under the influence in Maryland, your driver’s license will be automatically subject to suspension, and you will not be able to drive. The only way to obtain driving rights during the suspension is to request a hearing within 10 days of the incident with the Maryland Department of Transportation MVA.

So, you can still drive after refusing a breathalyzer test.

When you receive the driving rights as a result of the hearing, you will have to agree to have a breath alcohol ignition interlock system installed in your vehicle. You need to blow into the device before starting your vehicle each time. If it detected alcohol, your license could be get suspended again.

Contact the Law Office of Robert Castro Criminal

If you need a Calvert County DUI attorney to help you with how to beat a DUI refusal, contact the experienced team of attorneys at the Law Office of Robert Castro Criminal in Calvert County, Maryland. To schedule a consultation with a Calvert County criminal lawyer, contact us online or call us at (301) 870-1200.