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Columbia DUI Arrest Process and Field Sobriety Tests

After an individual has been arrested for DUI during a DUI stop, they are transported to the police station. At the police station, the person is fingerprinted and their mugshot is taken. Any personal property is confiscated and is returned once the individual is released. Additionally, people will be given the choice of submitting to a breath, blood, or urine sample to determine if they are impaired. In some instances, bail may be posted immediately, or an individual will be released on their own recognizance. In other instances, the individual will be required to wait in a cell for a hearing before a judge who will determine the amount of bail.

Maryland law requires that individuals submit to a breath, blood, or urine test to determine their BAC. If a driver is lawfully stopped by an officer and the officer has probable cause to believe that they have been driving under the influence, the driver consents to taking a chemical test. People can refuse, but the consequences are severe. For a first-offense refusal, an individual’s license will be suspended for 270 days. For a second-offense and any subsequent refusal, the license is suspended for one year.

As soon as you have been charged with a Columbia DUI, you should contact an attorney. Given the serious nature of this offense, there are certain things that should be done immediately after being charged to increase your chances of a positive outcome in court. By speaking to an attorney, he or she will be able to give you a checklist and point you in the right direction. For example, immediately after you are charged, individuals should enroll themselves into an alcohol education program.

Field Sobriety Tests

In Maryland, officers are not required to adhere to the federal standard for field sobriety tests procedures. However, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test should be conducted in accordance with the established protocols due to its scientific nature. Additionally, officers must be qualified as an expert or skilled witness for the purpose of conducting the tests and offering their opinions of the results. Furthermore, officers should always ask prior to the individual performing the tests whether or not they have a condition that may prevent them from performing the tests (head injury, eye disease, certain medication). Beyond that, individuals do have the right to refuse to perform field sobriety tests in Columbia at DUI stops, but once a person is under arrest and in police custody they must comply.

The weight of the field sobriety tests at a DUI trial will depend on the judge. Some judges believe that the tests are extremely reliable, and will hold the failing results against the individual. Other judges may believe that there are factors that can influence the results of the tests and would not consider the tests to be an accurate method to determine if someone is impaired. For example, an individual may have been on their feet all day or sick, which could result in them having bad hand/eye coordination if they were sober.