What are the Penalties for Refusing a DUI Chemical Test in Maryland?
The problem is that, most of these individuals had no idea that their refusal to take a chemical test could result in a minimum 120 day suspension of their driver’s license whether they are found guilty of drunk driving or not. Many also don’t realize that their refusal to submit to a chemical test at the request of law enforcement can be used by the State of Maryland as evidence against them in any criminal proceedings stemming from their arrest.
Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and/or driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is illegal under § 21-902 of Maryland’s Transportation Code. There is a prescribed series of events that may occur if you are suspected of DUI or DWI in Maryland. It usually starts with being pulled over for a traffic violation, is followed by being asked to submit to field sobriety and chemical testing upon suspicion of impairment, and can end in a DUI arrest, driver’s license suspension, and possibly jail time.
Implied Consent Law
Your License Can be Suspended Even if you are Found Not Guilty of DUI/DWI of Alcohol and/or Drugs
Under Maryland’s Implied Consent Law, any person who drives a motor vehicle on any highway, public road, or private property generally used by the public, has given their consent to submit to a chemical test of breath or blood at the request of a law enforcement officer who has a reasonable suspicion that they are operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are pulled over for suspicion of drunk and/or drugged driving and refuse to submit to a chemical test, under the implied consent law, you can face license suspension regardless of your guilt or innocence.
After Your Refusal – License Suspension
If you were asked to submit to a chemical test by a police officer and you refused, that information will be sent to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) who will, at your request, schedule a hearing at the Office of Administrative Hearings where you can contest the suspension of your license. It is extremely important to note that you must request this hearing in writing within 10 days of the stop. The MVA will not automatically schedule one for you. If you do not request a hearing by submitting the necessary paperwork and fees to the MVA within 10 days following the date of your arrest, your Maryland driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of 120 days starting on day 46 after the stop.
While there are some who would try and make you believe that there is nothing you can do to save your license from being suspended following your refusal to take a breath or blood test, that is simply not true. Our attorneys regularly and successfully represent clients facing license suspension following their refusal to take a chemical test. No matter what you may have been told by law enforcement, even if you refused the chemical test, you can fight to keep your driving privileges and win.
Fighting for Your License – The Administrative Hearing
Even though the MVA has the ability to reinstate your full driving privileges or grant you a restricted license, they will not even consider doing so unless you request a hearing with the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings within 10 days from the date of your arrest. At the MVA hearing you will be given the opportunity to present evidence before an Administrative Law Judge to contest the suspension of your license and to support reinstatement of your driving privileges. This impartial hearing is separate from your criminal trial and only addresses issues relating to your driving privileges, not any criminal penalties you may be facing as a result of your DUI and/or DWI arrest. For this reason some people mistakenly believe that the MVA hearing isn’t a serious matter; an assumption that couldn’t be further from the truth. Losing your driver’s license can have a devastating impact on your professional and personal life. With so much at stake, it is a good idea to retain the services of an experienced defense attorney to represent your interests, protect your rights, and fight for your license at the MVA hearing.
DUI Lawyer & Certified Breath Alcohol Technician
If you refused a chemical test after being pulled over for a suspected DUI or DWI in Maryland, you are subject to a number of penalties, the first of which is a DUI/DWI arrest and possible driver’s license suspension followed by a criminal trial where the State can use your refusal as evidence against you in order to prove that you were operating your vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Even if you are found not guilty of DUI/DWI in your criminal trial, you may still suffer the inconvenience and potential professional hardships of a driver’s license suspension. At Alpert Schreyer Poe, LLC, our experienced Maryland drunk driving defense attorneys have a critical understanding of the Administrative Hearing process as well as the skills and resources necessary to effectively defend your rights. Attorney Andrew Alpert is a certified Breath Alcohol Technician who has the knowledge and experience to challenge the chemical test process and has successfully helped many people keep their driver’s licenses after a DUI arrest.