In a previous article, we discussed in detail some of the specifics relating to Maryland’s implied consent laws. To briefly recap, if a motorist is suspected of DUI, law enforcement officers may request that the individual submit to a breath or blood test to check for the amount of alcohol or drugs present in the person’s system. If the motorist refuses, this will result in an immediate license suspension, typically no matter what ends up happening with the DUI case.
Recently, the Maryland Court of Appeals issued a decision dealing with the implied consent rules and the right of the motorist arrested for DUI to have access to an attorney prior to making the choice whether or not to submit to the test. In this case, an officer performed a traffic stop when a motorist was observed driving after failing to dim her high-beam headlights.
During the stop, the officer noticed signs of impairment and the woman was asked to submit to field sobriety tests. She did not pass these tests and was arrested. The nearby police station did not have the proper equipment to perform the breath test, so she was to be transported to a facility that had the proper tools.
Prior to agreeing to the test, the woman requested to be able to contact an attorney. She had the contact information for an attorney on her phone, but it is unclear if this was known to the officers present. Police refused her request, as these tests need to be completed within two hours of the stop to be accurate and admissible. The woman registered at 0.16 percent, well above the state’s legal limit, and her license was suspended.
Lower courts held that the refusal to grant the woman time to contact an attorney violated her rights, and overturned the suspension. The Court of Appeals, in a lengthy decision, rejected this ruling, and announced that it was not necessary to give the motorist time to contact an attorney, based on the factors present.
This case could lead to serious confusion for individuals arrested for DUI. If they are not allowed to contact an attorney prior to making such an important decision, they could make a major mistake that threatens to hurt their opportunities to offer a strong defense to the charges. If they do decide to take the test, it might result in prosecutors getting the evidence they need to obtain a conviction.
If you have been arrested, call the Greenberg Law Offices today to ensure you are not unfairly punished. As the penalties for DUI continue to increase in their severity, it is important that you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect yourself at such a difficult time.
The attorneys at the Greenberg Law Offices will be able to explain the options available to you, and work with you to create a defense that takes your needs into consideration. Once you have made your decision on how you wish to proceed, your attorneys will zealously advocate on your behalf throughout your case.
While prosecutors may try to convince you to plead guilty, it is essential that you have a clear understanding about the consequences that a conviction will have on your future. The criminal case may come to an end with a plea, but the loss of your driving privileges may have a significant impact upon many other aspects of your life.