Can You Refuse Sobriety Test Maryland?

Updated on April 9th, 2024 at 08:43 pm

You’ve been pulled over in Maryland under the suspicion of drunk driving and asked to submit to sobriety tests. The first thing that comes to mind is, can you refuse sobriety tests in Maryland?

In Maryland, roadside sobriety tests are voluntary, meaning a person cannot be legally penalized for refusing to take one. However, an arrest is just as likely to occur whether the sobriety test is completed or not.

Maryland Sobriety Tests

It is important to know the types of sobriety tests in Maryland:

  • Standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) – SFSTs include the one-leg stand test, the walk-and-turn test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. There are also two breath tests.
  • Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) – The PBT is administered at the scene where a person is pulled over.
  • Evidentiary Breath Test (EBT) – The EBT takes place at a police station.

Can You Refuse Field Sobriety Tests in MD?

In Maryland, choosing not to participate in roadside field sobriety tests carries no legal penalties, as these tests are voluntary. Nonetheless, refusal often prompts an arrest, like how submitting to the test commonly leads to arrest as well.

Can You Refuse a Preliminary Breath Test in MD?

In Maryland, the initial sobriety test, Preliminary Breath test (PBT), is voluntary, meaning a person cannot be legally penalized for refusing to take one. In many cases, a person who refuses the initial sobriety test is arrested. However, an arrest is just as likely to occur when a sobriety test is completed.

It is important to note that Maryland police officers are required to notify residents that the PBT is voluntary. Refusal of a preliminary breath test cannot be used against you in court.

Can You Refuse an Evidentiary Breath Test in MD?

Even though the Evidentiary Breath Test administered at the police station is voluntary, it is important to know that it can and will be used against you in court.

What Happens if You Refuse a Breathalyzer in Maryland?

If you are a Maryland resident, the police officer will confiscate a person’s driver’s license if they have either refused to complete the test that determines blood alcohol or drug concentration or if they have failed the completed test.

When the license has been confiscated, a temporary license will be issued, and the police officer will submit a case for the Maryland MVA file.

Can You Get Charged With Dui Without Breathalyzer in Maryland?

It is not uncommon for a person to refuse to give a breath sample in a DUI case. Maryland police officers can charge a person with driving under the influence or driving while impaired based on their personal opinion of the driver’s intoxication level. Therefore, a breath sample is not a requirement when charging someone with a DUI.

There is a range of different charges you can receive when you drive under the influence:

  • DUI-Per Se is where a breath test score reaches .08 or above.
    You can be charged with a DUI-Per Se, DUI, or DWI based on the score of a breath test.
  • DUI or DWI can also be charged based on whether you refuse a breath test.

DUI and DWI have a lower evidentiary bar to clear than drugs, which is driving under the influence of drugs.

Do You Lose Your License for First Dui in MD?

Yes, you can lose your license as a first time DUI offender in Maryland. If you are convicted of DUI, your license will be suspended for 180 days. However, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) can also take action and suspend a Maryland driver’s license prior to being convicted.

Typically, anyone arrested for a DUI in Maryland has 45 days before the license suspension will take effect. During the 45-day period, a person can request a hearing through the Office of Administrative Hearing (OAH) in Maryland or install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle to prevent their license from being suspended and to keep their ability to drive.

Request for Administrative Hearing in Maryland

The request for an administrative hearing to show cause as to why your license should not be suspended must be filed within 10 days of receiving the temporary license after a DUI arrest. If an administrative hearing is not requested, the license suspension will take effect on the 46th day from the date you receive a temporary license.

Requests for an Administrative Hearing must be filed in writing. The request should be sent to the Office of Administrative Hearings office and must include money or a check in the amount of $150.00. If your request does not include the said filing fee, your request will be considered invalid.

If you intend on paying with a check, it should be made payable to the “Maryland State Treasurer.” The Office of Administrative Hearings will contact you with a hearing date if your request is accepted.

If a first-time DUI offender in Maryland submits to a breath test, the suspension period is 180 days. If a person refuses a breath test, the license suspension is 270 days. Once a person has reached the end of their suspension period, they may be granted driving privileges after the reinstatement process.

Do First-Time Dui Offenders Go to Jail in Maryland?

Upon a first-time DUI conviction in Maryland, it is unlikely the offender will serve any jail time. However, the maximum penalty for a first-time DUI is incarceration of up to one year or up to $1,000 in fines. Although it is rare, depending on the facts and seriousness of the case, sometimes a person may serve some jail time.

In most cases, first-time Maryland DUI offenders receive Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) and do not have to worry about jail time. Upon conviction of a DUI, 12 points will be added to your driving record (8 points for DWI), and your license could be revoked for no more than 6 months.

Experienced DUI Lawyers in Maryland

If you have been arrested and charged with DUI, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Bruckheim & Patel – Rockville, MD, for a free consultation today! It is extremely important to have an experienced Rockville DUI lawyer by your side as you navigate the charges against you. Here at Bruckheim & Patel, attorneys are ready to use their legal knowledge to represent those in the community.

About Bruckheim & Patel

As a former Prosecutor, Michael Bruckheim has experience on the other side of the aisle. Prior to founding his law office in 2010, Mr. Bruckheim enjoyed a diverse career in litigation at the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia (OAG) serving for over 11 years. He began his OAG career as a prosecutor in the Criminal Section where he conducted numerous bench and jury trials in traffic and criminal misdemeanor matters. Mr. Bruckheim was promoted and served as Chief of the Criminal Section at the OAG where he supervised the prosecution of DUI offenses in the District and directed a staff of over 20 attorneys.

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