Question: Am I required to take the field sobriety tests if I am pulled over on suspicion of DUI in Maryland?
Answer: The answer is no. And that’s what most people don’t know; they don’t know that they have a right to refuse any field sobriety tests. We actually recommend to refuse everything, if the person is actually impaired, because essentially the person is testifying against themself. And based off of the 5th Amendment, everybody—even a motorist—has the right to not testify against themselves. So that is a form of testifying against yourself by taking the field sobriety tests, because how you do on those tests will be used against you in a court of law. So, you have the right to refuse everything in Maryland, and the state cannot force you or coerce you to do it. And we always recommend, if the person has had any alcohol consumption or believes that they are impaired, to just refuse everything.
The tests are set up for you to fail. The tests are not all that accurate. A lot of it is guessing; a lot of it, they don’t take into account that it’s loud outside, that it’s cold, that it could be rainy. So the tests are set up perfectly if you’re inside, perfect weather, and you can hear what they’re saying. But they write everything down. So, the chips are stacked against you. You’re meant to fail those tests. It’s not a matter of passing or failing—it’s basically how bad you fail. Unless you’re 100 percent sure you’re going to pass those field sobriety tests, I certainly would recommend not taking them, and the state cannot force you to. There’s no punishment for refusing them.