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Understanding Maryland’s implied consent law

As you know, a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol can destroy your life. After all, you need your driver’s license to go to work, buy groceries and otherwise get through every day. You also need your freedom. 

Maryland has an implied consent law. That is, when you received your driver’s license, you gave implied consent to submit to chemical testing to measure your blood alcohol content if an officer has reasonable suspicion to believe you are driving while impaired. Before you find yourself in the middle of a DWI stop, you should understand Maryland’s implied consent law. 

Maryland’s legal limit 

In the Old Line State, your blood does not have to be free of alcohol for you to legally operate a motor vehicle. Your BAC does, however, have to be below 0.08 percent. If a police officer suspects you are either driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle, he or she may conduct a chemical test to determine if your BAC is above the legal limit. 

Chemical testing 

Pursuant to Maryland law, officers may test your breath, blood or urine to determine your BAC. Officers may ask you to take a roadside breath test. This test, however, may not be the sort of testing that the implied consent law contemplates. Instead, it may only give officers probable cause to request chemical testing. Still, officers should conduct chemical testing as soon as possible when you were either driving or attempting to drive. 


Even though you gave implied consent to submit to chemical testing, you may choose to refuse the test. As you may suspect, though, a refusal has consequences. In fact, refusing a chemical test in Maryland comes with a 270-day suspension of your driving privileges. To overcome the suspension, you must request a hearing within 10 days. Then, you must convince a hearing officer that he or she should allow you to continue to drive. You also may need to install an ignition interlock system on your vehicle. 

The best way to avoid a DWI is never to drive or attempt to drive after you have been drinking alcohol. Still, it is a good idea to fully understand Maryland’s implied consent law.



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