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Sobriety Test Refusal

Below, on of our Maryland DUI lawyers addresses concerns and answers questions about refusing to perform field sobriety tests.

Can You Refuse a Field Sobriety Test in Maryland?

In Maryland, there is no mandate that says a person must take Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. People often decide not to take the tests for a multitude of reasons. They may have health issues that keep them from balancing properly. They may also decide that it’s not the ideal situation for them because maybe it’s too cold outside or the road is too sloped and they know that they’re not going to perform those tests correctly. There is no requirement that a person participate in the tests. However, a refusal of these tests does give the officer enough information to establish probable cause to arrest the person, due to the fact that there is a certain degree of presumed impairment when somebody refuses to perform the tests.

Can Refusing Field Sobriety Tests Negatively Impact Your Criminal Case?

It certainly can but there are ways around it. For example, an individual might not be able to perform the test because they had recently broken a leg or they had surgery of some kind. That is something that we can medically document for the court. It might be in the person’s best interest not to participate in those field sobriety tests because the results would be very poor and give the officer and the court a false impression about their level of impairment. Refusing these tests and then taking the breathalyzer test at the station might be in their interest in order to demonstrate that they are not under the influence of alcohol.

Impact of Refusing Chemical Tests on Driving Privileges

There are implied consent laws in Maryland. If somebody refuses the chemical breath test that is administered by an officer after probable cause has been established to arrest them for driving under the influence and they also refuse a chemical breath test at the station, there are consequences with the Motor Vehicle Administration. Those consequences include mandatory suspension of an individual’s privilege to drive for 120 days for a first offense, and a longer period of time for a second or subsequent offense.

This 120-day suspension can be modified if a person participates in the ignition interlock program, which means putting a device on their vehicle for a period of 12 months and blowing into it every time they need to start their car. The machine checks to see if there is alcohol in their system when they are attempting to drive. Many people find the refusal consequences to be difficult to deal with because having a suspension for 120 days or having this cumbersome device for a year can be expensive and extremely inconvenient for a person who works, goes to school, or has children to transport.

Speak with a Local DUI Attorney Today

If you or a loved one are facing DUI charges or would like to learn more about the impact of refusing field sobriety tests and chemical tests in Maryland, please call our law offices as soon as possible. Our friendly legal team is standing by to receive your call.