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Will refusing a breathalyzer test impact my DUI case? 

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2024 | Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious crime in Maryland, just as it is throughout the U.S. If the police have “reasonable suspicion” that you are intoxicated behind the wheel, they will likely pull you over.

They may ask you to take field sobriety tests (such as walking along a line) or a preliminary breath test while roadside. You are not obligated to take these tests.

If, after talking to you, the police have “probable cause” to believe you are drunk (which is a higher standard than the “reasonable suspicion” they needed to pull you over) – be it from your performance in one of those tests or something else – they will arrest you and take you to the station for further investigation. Once there, they will ask you to take a breathalyzer test. 

But what if you refuse this breathalyzer test? Will this impact the outcome of your DUI case if you are formally charged?

There are penalties for refusing a post-arrest test

According to Maryland’s implied consent law, drivers agree to take a chemical test (blood, urine or breath) if the police ask them to do so after an arrest. Refusing to take the test has consequences

First, the police will confiscate your driver’s license. The duration of your license suspension will depend on your prior DUI record – 270 days for a first offense and a two-year suspension for a second offense or more.

You could still be convicted of DUI

Even if the police do not have a specific test reading that shows you were over the limit, the prosecution may have other evidence with which to pursue a prosecution. For example, if the police reported the smell of alcohol on your breath, the presence of open alcohol containers in your car, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech or erratic driving.  A conviction will result in further consequences.

It’s best to take legal guidance to examine all your options if the police arrest you on suspicion of drunk driving. There is a lot at stake and understanding your rights and obligations is crucial to avoid making things worse.