Do I Need to Consent to Field Sobriety Tests in Maryland?

Licensed drivers in Maryland provide consent to submit to breathalyzer tests if they are ever  suspected of DUI when they apply for their licenses with the DMV. Due to the implied consent law, drivers who refuse breath tests may face additional hardships upon a DUI arrest.

While there is a penalty for refusing to take a chemical test such as a breath test, the circumstances differ for field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are a series of assessments police officers conduct to discover possible signs of impairment from drugs or alcohol, including dilated pupils, loss of focus, or loss of balance.

There is never a good reason to drink and drive. However, if you’re pulled over for suspected drunk driving in Maryland, one of the most significant things you can do is to contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer. The Law Offices of Hillel Traub has an extensive record of successful results helping drivers from Baltimore and Maryland reduce DUI and DWI consequences. Please contact our office for a free consultation.

What Are the Standard Field Sobriety Tests Used in Baltimore, Maryland?

Suppose law enforcement stops you under the suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In that case, they may ask you to consent to a field sobriety test along with other tests to ascertain your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). During a field sobriety test, the police officer observes how you respond to the physical tests.

There are three standard field sobriety tests (SFST) used in Maryland:

  • Walk and turn: The driver must walk in a straight line and maintain balance while doing a quick turn
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus: An unconscious jerking of the eyes as they gaze towards the side
  • One-leg stand test: The driver stands with one foot six inches off the ground while keeping their arms at their sides for 30 seconds.

The police officer will observe whether you sway or show signs of impairment while taking notes as you go through these tests. Police can use these notes as evidence of your physical state to convict you for DUI or DWI.

Law enforcement must follow strict rules on administering field sobriety tests. If you believe that police did not follow these protocols, an experienced Maryland DUI attorney can determine whether they followed legal procedures in your sobriety tests.

What Should I Do If Pulled Over for Suspected DUI in Maryland?

Remember that anything you say or do can be used as evidence for your arrest when stopped for suspected DUI in Maryland. Do not admit guilt and contact a qualified DUI defense lawyer as soon as you can.

If you are pulled over, you should not consent to a field sobriety test or a preliminary breath test that’s similar to a breathalyzer taken at the police station but less reliable. Preliminary breath tests are frequently inaccurate and provide law enforcement with additional justification to pursue an arrest. While you may still be booked at the police station for refusing, there will be no unsuccessful field sobriety tests to use against you.

Retain a Former Attorney General for the MVA to Defend Your DUI Charge

A DUI can have life-altering consequences on you and your family. If you’re facing DUI charges or refused to take a breathalyzer in Baltimore, do not delay. Consult with a lawyer who may be able to help you avoid or reduce the penalties.

DUI attorney Hillel Traub of The Law Office of Hillel Traub is a fierce traffic attorney who has proudly served the communities of Baltimore, Maryland, for more than 20 years. As former Attorney General for the Maryland MVA, you can trust that Hillel Traub will make every effort to help you keep your driving privileges and protect your reputation in the community. To speak with him about your Maryland traffic offense, schedule a free consultation by completing a contact form or calling 410-580-1100.