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Can I Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer Test?

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2023 | dui/dwi |

A University of Maryland assistant coach was arrested in Florida a few weeks ago and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in the Sunshine State. Reportedly, he refused to take a breathalyzer test.

Can you refuse to take a breathalyzer test in Maryland? Yes. But there are consequences.

Under Maryland law, an officer can detain a driver and conduct an alcohol breath test officer when the officer believes that reasonable grounds exist that the person is driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol and the vehicle can’t be safely driven.

Maryland law enforcement uses several tests to determine your blood alcohol level. They include:

  • Field sobriety tests
  • A preliminary breath test, which is conducted by the side of the road
  • A breathalyzer, which is conducted at the police station.

These tests determine the amount of alcohol in a Maryland driver’s bloodstream.

If you test above the legal limit for alcohol, you will be issued an “Order of Suspension” for your driver’s license along with your traffic citation. The police officer will confiscate your Maryland driver’s license. The officer may issue a 45-day temporary paper license.

With such consequences, some people wonder if it’s better to refuse to take the tests.

In Maryland, you don’t have to agree to take the field sobriety tests or the “by the road” breath test. You can also refuse to take a breathalyzer at the police station. The refusal to take the breathalyzer test is not admissible against you in court. However, there are penalties for refusing.

Penalties for refusing to take a breathalyzer test in Maryland

If you refuse to take a test to determine your blood alcohol or drug concentration, the police officer will confiscate your Maryland driver’s license just as the driver’s license can be confiscated if you fail the tests, issue a paper temporary license and prepare a case for the Maryland MVA file. Your license will be suspended for 270 days if it is a first offense. In a second offense or subsequent offense, the suspension will be for two years.

The only situation in which you cannot refuse a breathalyzer in Maryland is if you were involved in an accident that caused serious injury or death. In such instances, a police officer can order you to take a breathalyzer test.

An Ocean City DWI/DUI lawyer can help you with your impaired driver charge. Your attorney can go over the facts of your case to help determine how best to fight the accusations. The consultation is free. The attorneys at Maronick Law LLC have experience with Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Glen Burnie, Ocean City, Towson, and White Marsh DWI/DUI matters.

Maronick Law LLC is open during the pandemic and continues to meet your legal needs. We can meet with you remotely if you have access to Zoom. You can the law office at 410-881-4022 or via our website for a free consultation.



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