Failure to Take a Breathalyzer Test

Assisting Individuals Facing Criminal DUI and DWI Charges in Maryland

Contrary to what some Maryland drivers think, if a police officer suspects that you are drinking and driving and pulls you over, you are not legally required to submit to a breathalyzer test or other types of chemical testing. In some instances, it may even be advantageous for you to refuse to submit to the test. Even though you are not required to “blow” in Maryland, it is important to understand that this refusal can come with some potentially negative consequences.

The DUI criminal defense lawyers at Alpert Schreyer, LLC – DUI & Criminal Defense can meet with you to discuss the facts and circumstances of your case and can help you fully understand all of your legal rights. Our attorneys can also explain to you the legal ramifications of refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test, as well as the potential consequences that you may incur from making such a refusal.

What Can Happen if You Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer Test in Maryland

Suppose that you are driving down the highway and you see those dreaded red and blue flashing lights in your rearview mirror signaling you to pull over to the side of the road. If a police officer has grounds to suspect that you have been drinking, he or she can pull you over and request that you submit to a breathalyzer test. The reason that the officer can do this is that when you are issued a Maryland driver’s license, you become a party to an implied contract. Under the terms of this contract, it is implied that when you are pulled over, you will submit to an officer’s request for a breathalyzer test. Your refusal to do so under the circumstances essentially amounts to a breach of your contract with the State of Maryland. As a result, there can be serious consequences.

In the event you refuse to take a breathalyzer test in Maryland, you can be subject to the following penalties:

  • License suspension of 120 days for a first-time breathalyzer test refusal
  • License suspension of one year for a second or subsequent breathalyzer test refusal

The knowledgeable team of lawyers at Alpert Schreyer, LLC – DUI & Criminal Defense can help you determine whether or not you should refuse a breathalyzer test and can help to safeguard your legal rights while your criminal case is pending.

Getting Your Driving Privileges Back After Refusing to Take a Breathalyzer Test

If you opt to refuse a breathalyzer test, the chances are that your license will be suspended for a very long time. The offending driver may still be able to drive if he or she agrees to participate in the State’s ignition interlock program (that is, “blow and go”). However, the ignition interlock program is expensive and time consuming. First of all, you will need to pay to have the ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, and you will also need to pay for required maintenance which must be performed on the system every month or so.

Once an ignition interlock device is installed on your vehicle, you will need to blow into the device a certain number of times in order to start your vehicle. If you blow into the device and the device detects any amount of alcohol on your breath, the vehicle will not start. In some cases, too, other things besides alcohol can trigger the device and cause the vehicle not to start.

Having to deal with and use an ignition interlock device can also be very personally embarrassing and aggravating. The knowledgeable lawyers at Alpert Schreyer, LLC – DUI & Criminal Defense can answer all of your questions about ignition interlock device requirements and laws in the State of Maryland.

The Potential Benefit of Refusing to Take a Breathalyzer Test

In some cases and under certain circumstances, there may be some benefit to refusing a breathalyzer test in Maryland. In Maryland DUI cases, breathalyzer test results are a crucial piece of evidence in the case, and judges use this evidence in order to convict defendant drivers and ultimately sentence them. In Maryland, prosecutors—or State’s Attorneys—have the burden of proving their cases “beyond a reasonable doubt,” or beyond a doubt based upon ordinary reason and common sense. If the driver refused to take the breathalyzer test, then the State does not have a crucial piece of evidence to introduce at trial. In that case, it can be much more difficult for the prosecutor to prove his or her case and secure a conviction. The experienced DUI criminal defense lawyers at Alpert Schreyer, LLC – DUI & Criminal Defense can talk you through the potential benefits of refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test under the particular facts of your case.

How a DUI Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You With Your Case

If you have been asked to take a breathalyzer test, it is a good idea to first consult with an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney who can help you decide what to do. In Maryland, if you ask to speak with an attorney prior to undergoing a breathalyzer test, the police officer must attempt to accommodate your request by first allowing you to speak with an attorney. However, there are some limitations to this rule, given that the arresting officer must obtain the breath sample within two hours of stopping your vehicle on the roadway. If it is getting close to the two- hour mark, the officer may be able to say that a driver refused to take the breathalyzer test.

Contact a Maryland DUI Criminal Defense Attorney Today for a Free Legal Consultation and Case Evaluation

A conviction for a DUI in the State of Maryland can result in serious criminal penalties, and refusing to take a breathalyzer test can be beneficial or detrimental, depending upon the circumstances. The DUI criminal defense attorneys at Alpert Schreyer, LLC – DUI & Criminal Defense can help you decide whether you should consent to or refuse a breathalyzer test in Maryland. To schedule a free case evaluation and case evaluation with a Maryland DUI criminal defense lawyer, please call us today at (866) 444-6363 or contact us online.