Maryland DUI Breath Test Refusal
Did you know that it is against the law to refuse to perform a breath test if a member of law enforcement requests one? Indeed, practically every state has what’s known as an Implied Consent Law in place to make breath testing mandatory for anyone operating a vehicle on the roads—and Maryland is no exception. As a result, you may be punished if you are convicted of a Maryland DUI breath test refusal.
Often called breathalyzers, breath tests calculate a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) based on the amount of alcohol found in his or her breath. Under federal law, a person is impaired once his or her BAC reaches a percentage of 0.08 or higher. Therefore, if your breath test results reveal that you have an illegal amount of alcohol in your system, you can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).
Of course, you don’t have to fail a breath test to be charged with drunk driving. Due to the state’s Implied Consent Law, simply refusing the test is enough to warrant your arrest. What’s more, because it may be considered a presumption of guilt, your refusal can be used against you in court. In some cases, you may even face harsher penalties for refusing to take the test than you would if you had taken it and failed.
Regardless of whether you fail or refuse a Maryland breath test, a DUI conviction carries a number of serious penalties. Assuming it’s your first offense, your sentence may include a $1,000 fine, 120-day license suspension, and up to a year of jail time. Repeat offenders face even harsher sentencing requirements, as a second DUI carries up to a $2,000 fine and a two-year jail sentence. Drivers who are convicted of three or more DUIs often pay as much as $3,000 in fines and spend up to three years behind bars.
If you or someone you know has been charged with drunk driving in Maryland, it is best to obtain legal representation immediately after your arrest. Although a DUI conviction can lead to a number of penalties, you may be able to avoid them if you have a strong argument for your defense. In fact, an experienced DUI defense attorney may even be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed completely.