Being stopped on the suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is an intimidating and nerve-racking experience. If you are stopped by a police officer in Maryland, it is important that you know your rights, including your rights regarding chemical testing. At The Law Office of Jonathan R. Fellner, L.L.C., we can represent you if you have been charged with a DUI offense in our state. In the meantime, consider the following about the distinct types of chemical tests used to check for DUI in Maryland, and your rights regarding submitting to or refusing these tests.
Types of Chemical Tests for DUI in Maryland
There are three types of chemical tests for DUI that are used in Maryland. These are:
- Breath alcohol testing;
- Blood alcohol testing; and
- Blood drug testing.
As a note, breath alcohol testing is further divided into two types: breath testing that occurs in the field at the time of a traffic stop (administered by a handheld breathalyzer device) and breath testing that occurs at the police station after a subject has been taken into police custody. The former is less accurate, and may be used to gather probable cause for a DUI arrest. The latter is more accurate, and is only administered by an officer or test administrator who is certified in proper administration of the test. Breath alcohol testing at a police station is also more accurate because these machines are calibrated regularly.
Which Type of Test Will I Be Asked to Submit to?
At the time that you are stopped and question by a police officer, you may be asked to submit to a breath alcohol test, a field sobriety test, or both. You have the right to refuse to submit to these tests, although there are administrative penalties if you refuse to submit to chemical testing.
You may be arrested and charged with a DUI even if you do not submit to either test if the officer has probable cause to do so. If you are arrested, you will be asked again to submit to chemical testing at the police station. Typically, the breath alcohol test is standard. Again, you have the right to refuse to submit to breath testing.
In some cases, you may be asked to submit to blood alcohol or drug testing. This may be true in the case that you are unable to blow into a breathalyzer for whatever reason, you are injured and, in the hospital (blood will be drawn by a nurse or physician), or you have been involved in an accident that caused severe injury or death to another person. In the event of the latter–serious injury or death–blood testing in mandatory, and your right to refuse to submit to this type of testing is forfeited.
Blood tests are the most reliable type of chemical test.
What Happens if I Refuse to Consent to Chemical Testing?
In some cases, refusing to consent to chemical testing may be in your best interest. If you are intoxicated and submit to testing and the results of the test reflect this, this is evidence that can be used against you to secure a conviction.
However, refusing to consent to chemical testing has consequences, too. These consequences are delivered in the form of administrative penalties. As explained by the Maryland Department of Transportation – Motor Vehicle Administration, if you refuse to submit to an officer’s request for chemical testing, you will be issued an Order of Suspension form. A first-offense refusal will result in 120-day license suspension; a second-offense refusal a one-year license suspension.
Again, remember that even if you do not submit to chemical testing, you may still be arrested and charged with a DUI. Further, you can be convicted of a DUI even if there is not chemical evidence of your blood alcohol concentration, although a conviction is more difficult for the prosecution to secure without this evidence.
Our Lawyers Are Here to Help
If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI offense in Maryland, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side regardless of whether you submitted to chemical testing. At The Law Office of Jonathan R. Fellner, L.L.C., our DUI lawyer can provide you with the quality representation you deserve. Please call us today at 301-309-2000 to request your consultation, visit our Rockville office in person, or tell us more about your DUI case by sending us a message. We have the experience you’re looking for.