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Refusing DUI Tests in Ocean City

DUI and DWI cases in Ocean City, and other parts of Maryland, involve a number of different tests that officers may ask drivers to take: field sobriety tests, preliminary roadside breath tests, and Breathalyzer tests. Below, an Ocean City DUI lawyer discusses drivers’ rights regarding the ability to refuse these tests.

Refusing Field Sobriety Tests

A driver in Ocean City has the right to refuse to take any field sobriety test, but the driver needs to understand that that does not necessarily mean that they are avoiding being charged. An officer can still charge a driver with a DUI based solely on the officer’s observations of the driver.

The officer can make observations about their contact with the driver, so the officer still can testify as to whether or not the driver smells of alcohol, whether or not the driver’s eyes are glassy and bloodshot, whether or not the driver’s speech is slurred. The officer can also make observations of the driver’s coordination regarding things like locating the driver’s license within the wallet, fumbling for paperwork, having difficulty pulling the car over and putting it in park and turning the engine off.

Somebody can refuse to take the field sobriety test, but it is also important to understand that that same person could still end up being charged with a DUI based solely on the police officer’s observations of the driver.

Refusing Preliminary Roadside Breath Tests

A driver absolutely can refuse to take a preliminary breath test. That preliminary breath test result is not admissible in court and if the driver refuses to take the preliminary breath test, that choice cannot be used against them at trial. The officer will not be allowed to testify that the driver refused to take the preliminary breath test.

Refusing Breathalyzer Tests in Ocean City

The driver can refuse to take a breath test in the State of Maryland. If the driver refuses to take the breath test, then the driver does need to understand that there will be consequences for refusing to take the test.

If the driver refuses to take the test, then their license to drive within the state of Maryland will be suspended for a hundred and twenty days. If it is a subsequent refusal, if they had been previously stopped and refused to take the breath test, then their license will be suspended for a year.

That suspension will mean that they absolutely cannot drive a motor vehicle in the State of Maryland for any reason. That suspension cannot be modified to allow the driver to get a restricted license which would allow the driver to operate a motor vehicle to get to work or to get to school. The refusal to take the breath test will lead to an absolute suspension.

The only way that the driver will be able to operate a motor vehicle will be if the driver participates in the ignition interlock system program. That means that the driver would have to get an ignition interlock device placed on his car, he will also have to go to the MVA and get a license which states that that driver can only be operating a vehicle with the ignition interlock device on it. The only way that they will be able to drive is if they are driving a vehicle that has the interlock device in it.