It is important for people in Maryland to know their rights if they are pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence. In Maryland, a DWI is a more serious offense, carrying up to a $1,000 fine for a first-time offense and up to a $2,000 fine for a second offense. A person is considered to be driving while intoxicated if his or her blood-alcohol concentration is 0.08 or higher. A person who is cited for a DWI will have his or her license revoked on site by the citing officer. In contrast, a person may be guilty of a DUI if his or her BAC is between 0.04 and 0.07. A DUI conviction carries a fine of $500. Both offenses can result in jail time.
Implied consent law
Maryland has an implied consent law, meaning that a driver who is pulled over by a police officer who has probable cause to believe that he or she is driving under the influence of alcohol is deemed to have given consent to a breath or blood test of his or her blood alcohol level.
The officer may also ask the driver to submit to a preliminary breath test, which would be conducted on site in order to help the officer establish probable cause that the driver was drinking.
A vehicle does not have to be in motion in order for the driver to be considered driving under the influence. Under the law, all that is required is that the driver is in actual physical control of the vehicle – in other words, if the driver could make the vehicle move, then he or she is considered to be in control of the vehicle. As a result, a person could be considered to be driving under the influence even if he or she merely has the car keys in the ignition, even if the car is not running.
Right to refuse the tests
A driver has the right to refuse to take the preliminary breath test. However, the officer may not need the preliminary test in order to establish probable cause. The officer may rely on other clues, such as the driver’s appearance, demeanor and speech, to establish probable cause without the preliminary breath test.
A driver also has the right to refuse the regular breath and blood test. However, the refusal will result in the suspension of the driver’s license for 120 days after the first refusal and for one year after every other refusal.
The officer does not need to place the driver under arrest in order to administer the breath or blood tests. The officer can force someone to take the tests only if the driver was involved in an accident that caused serious injury or death.
If a driver agrees to take the breath or blood test and the results show a BAC above the legal limit, the driver’s license will be revoked on site by the officer and the driver will be charged with a DWI or DUI.
If a driver refuses to take a breath or blood test, his or her license will also automatically be revoked. In addition, he or she can still be charged with a DWI or DUI. The prosecution can use other evidence to establish that the driver was under the influence of alcohol, such as the police officer’s observations, and can also argue that the driver refused the test because he or she knew that it would show that his or her BAC was above the legal limit.
If you are charged with a DWI or DUI, you should consult an experienced defense attorney to discuss your options. An attorney can help you determine whether the detaining officer used the proper protocol during your detainment and arrest, including informing you that you had the right to refuse to take the breath and blood tests. Your attorney can also discuss your plea options and negotiate with the prosecuting attorney on your behalf for reduced fines and jail time.