Breath Test Refusal
Anyone with a Maryland driver’s license has agreed (knowingly or not) to submit to a breath or blood test as required by law. In fact, if you take a look at your driver’s license there is a line on the back that states “driving in Maryland implies consent to chemical testing for intoxication as required by law.” It goes on to state that “longer license suspensions may result from refusal to be tested.” This is exactly what will happen if you refuse to take the breath test in Maryland, but it's not all bad news, as a refusal means less evidence for the state to ultimately use against you. Refusing the breath test will result in an automatic 9-month license suspension, which cannot be modified to a restricted (work only) license. A driver who refuses the test will only be able to drive if he or she installs the interlock device. There is one exception for defendants who have to drive for a living. These defendants can request an administrative hearing and ask the hearing officer for a work vehicle exemption. We have had numerous clients who drive work trucks as part of their employment that we were able to successfully petition for an exception to the interlock requirement. The suspension is the same as a person who submits to the test but blows .15 or higher, so it will only be beneficial to take the test if you believe you are under .15. A test result of .08 to .15 will result in a six-month suspension that may be modified to a restricted license. These suspensions are all enforced by the MVA, and have nothing to do with the case in court. Refusing to take the breath test can have an impact on the court case outside of limiting the available evidence that will be introduced.
Under Maryland law a DUI refusal can be considered a separate offense from the actual DUI or DWI citation under Transportation Article §21-902(g) if certain circumstances occur. First, the State’s Attorney’s Office must provide notice to the defendant or the defense attorney of its intent to an seek additional penalty for the test refusal prior to the trial. Second the person must actually be convicted of DUI or DWI, and third the judge or jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly refused to take the test. If all these things occur a defendant may face an additional 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Realistically this extra punishment would only occur for repeat offenders or under extreme circumstances, but a Maryland DUI refusal lawyer could explain in more detail. Benjamin has handled hundreds of DUI cases and has won numerous drunk driving jury trials. He is standing by at 410-207-2598 for a free consultation.