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Should you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test?

Law enforcement in every state is cracking down on driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated. In Maryland, a police officer can pull you over for a traffic violation or for driving erratically to check for a suspicion of DUI or DWI. If the officer suspects that you are intoxicated, you may be asked to submit to field sobriety tests and chemical tests, such as a breathalyzer.

Many people believe that refusing a chemical test is a better option than submitting to one and being found with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. You do have the right to refuse to submit to a breath or blood test used to prove your guilt. However, the consequences for refusing the chemical test can be just as severe as taking the test and failing.

Under Maryland law, you can ask that your attorney be present during the chemical testing procedure, provided that the lawyer can arrive within two hours of your arrest. Refusal to submit to field sobriety testing can immediately lead to an arrest under suspicion of DUI.

What happens if you refuse the Breathalyzer test?

At the traffic stop when you are suspected of driving under the influence, if you refuse the Breathalyzer, the police officer will take your Maryland driver's license. You will be issued a temporary license and given information about how to reinstate your license. If you have a commercial license, your driving privileges could be immediately revoked.

You have 30 days following the Order of Suspension to request an administrative hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings. There is a required $150 filing fee that must be included with your request. It is recommended to request this hearing within 10 days of receiving the suspension to ensure that you have a hearing before your driver's license or privilege is suspended on the 46th day following the Order of Suspension.

For refusing to submit to the Breathalyzer, your license could be suspended for 270 days. You could elect to participate in the Ignition Interlock Program to avoid a suspension, but you will be required to pay for installation. It is possible that the OAH could find in favor of you at the hearing. It is also possible that you could face additional sanctions. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration will notify you of any additional charges.

A DUI is serious

These consequences are in addition to any criminal charges you face due to the DUI. It would be a good idea to talk to an experienced DUI attorney before you admit guilt to ensure you see the entire picture and know how the DUI will impact your future.

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