A DUI or a DWI is a very serious offense and being pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) in Maryland is not a fun experience. Your first instinct may be to panic, but knowing your rights and how to protect yourself can help relieve some of that anxiety. Knowing your rights when you are pulled over may not prevent you from being arrested, but it can make the situation less damaging to your case.
How Do I Know My BAC is Over the Limit?
A person’s blood-alcohol level (BAC) is the concentration of alcohol in the bloodstream. Determining an individual’s blood-alcohol level is complex, with factors that include the person’s weight, gender, number of drinks consumed (each drink=12 ounces of beer or the equivalent), and the time period over which the drinks were consumed.
Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia all consider drivers with a BAC of 0.08 or higher to be driving under the influence (DUI). Maryland and the District of Columbia are in the minority of jurisdictions where drivers with a BAC of .07 can also be charged with driving while impaired (DWI).
What should you do when you’re faced with a possible DUI charge?
Pull Over Safely
When the police officer pulls up behind you with his lights flashing, find a safe place to pull over. Put on your turn signal and pull over slowly. Police begin their DUI observations immediately and how you pull over can impact their perception of you. Stay in your car and do not make any sudden movements.
Be Polite & Respectful
Have your license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance ready to go when the officer approaches your vehicle. Greet the officer and be courteous. Remember that the police officer may be wearing a body camera and that your actions may be recorded.
Do Not Answer Questions You are Not Required To
The only information you are required to give the officer when you are pulled over is your name, your license, and your proof of insurance. If asked where you have been and whether you have been drinking, respond with, “I have nothing to say, officer.” A conversation between yourself and the officer will get you nothing. If you explain that you have been out to dinner, the next question will be about alcohol.
Admitting to having had drinks is like admitting guilt and becomes evidence against you. Any statements you make to the police officer that can be construed as an admission of drinking may be used against you.
Refuse to Take Any Field Sobriety Tests
These tests involve exiting your vehicle and performing a series of physical actions so the officer can observe whether or not you are impaired. These tests are subjective and easy to manipulate. There are also some factors that can cause you to fail the tests even if you’re sober. It is best to politely refuse to take the field sobriety tests.
Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer or Blood Test?
If you are pulled over for a DUI, you are most likely to be arrested regardless of whether you submit to the tests or not.
If You are Arrested, Contact an Experienced Attorney in Maryland
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI or DWI, you need an experienced attorney on your side. At Alpert Schreyer, LLC, our attorneys will work hard to get you the best possible outcome. Contact us online or call us at (301) 321-7277 for a free consultation.