Like every other state in the country, Maryland has implied consent laws that subject drivers to mandatory testing during a DUI investigation. Under implied consent, drivers must submit to a blood, breath, or urine test to determine their BAC or blood alcohol concentrations. Anyone who refuses may receive additional penalties, whether or not he is ultimately convicted of DUI.
Implied consent laws are a controversial subject because they require drivers to provide law enforcement with possibly incriminating evidence when they’re suspected of driving under the influence. If you’re ever stopped under suspicion of driving while intoxicated in or near Baltimore, you should understand how implied consent laws function and use this information to determine whether or not you should submit to a chemical test. You should also speak with a knowledgeable DUI lawyer immediately after your traffic stop.
Breaking Down “Implied Consent”
When drivers apply for a Maryland driver’s license, they agree to provide law enforcement with a sample of blood, breath, or urine to test their BAC when they’re the subject of a DUI or DWI investigation. Implied consent means that a driver’s permission for a BAC test, or any action by police officers that would otherwise need a warrant, is assumed through his or her actions rather than provided verbally or in writing.
Police officers who conduct DUI investigations must have probable cause to stop drivers. An officer may ask a driver for a preliminary breath test on the side of the road in order to establish probable cause. If the driver refuses this test, there are other ways the officer may establish probable cause. In many instances, police officers have other factors to turn to, such as a driver’s physical state, slurred speech, and other DUI signals to prove probable cause without a BAC reading.
While drivers may not be forced to submit to chemical tests, they can face consequences for refusing them. If you’ve recently been arrested for DUI in or near Baltimore, it’s important to discuss the details of your case with a professional. Your lawyer will be able to plan a strategic defense whether you refused or submitted to BAC testing.
What Will Happen if I Take the BAC Test?
If you’re stopped for suspected DUI and take a BAC test, you’ve complied with the state’s implied consent law; however, if your BAC was above 0.08, your license will be revoked on the spot. You will then be arrested and charged with DUI.
Penalties for Refusing a BAC Test for DUI or DWI
In Maryland, drivers may face penalties for refusing a BAC test in addition to any penalties included in their sentence upon a conviction for DUI or DWI. Anyone who refuses a BAC test might have their license suspended for the following periods:
- First BAC Test Refusal: 270-day license suspension
- Second and Subsequent BAC Test Refusals: 1-year license suspension
Both the court and the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration may impose restrictions on your driver’s license. The best way to protect your license is through a suspended license lawyer who can fight your DUI and related charges.
Are there benefits to refusing a BAC test in Maryland?
Refusing a BAC test is not advisable in Maryland. While it makes sense to want to limit the available evidence that could be used against you in court to gain a DUI conviction, the truth of the matter is that your refusal to submit to a BAC test may also be used as evidence against you. The prosecution may claim that you refused a BAC test because you knew you had an elevated BAC.
In some cases, people with an extremely high BAC might find it necessary to refuse a breath test. Your attorney can’t guarantee that doing so will help your case.
Did Your BAC Test Bring DUI Charges? Contact Hillel Traub
At The Law Office of Hillel Traub, attorney Hillel Traub fights DUI and DWI accusations and charges. He understands the dire penalties you may be subjected to without a strong legal defense and fights to protect your rights and driver’s license in court. As a former Assistant Attorney General for the Maryland MVA, Hillel knows how the organization works to forfeit your driving privileges and can use that knowledge to your advantage.