What To Expect At a Howard County DUI Stop
If pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence in Howard County, the following is what you can expect to take place according to a Howard County DUI lawyer. To learn more or discuss your case call and schedule a consultation today.
What Howard County Officers Look For In Drivers Before Pulling Them Over For Possible DUI
There are typically two things that Howard County Officers are looking for:
- First, they’re looking at time of day. Officers are a lot more likely to make a DUI stop in the hours between two and four in the morning than they would between two and four in the afternoon.
- The other thing that they’re looking for is some kind of indicator of the impairment. This could be anything from difficulty staying in a lane, to not having your headlights on when required, or any other type of traffic infraction that is consistent with impaired driving. It can be big fluctuations in speed or difficulty negotiating turns or any kind of maneuvers like that.
They’re looking both at timing of the incident and they’re looking for the type of driving involved. They’re a lot more likely to initiate continued DUI investigation for somebody who’s pulled over for driving the wrong side of the road than somebody who has a broken tail light.
What A Typical Stop Process in Howard County Looks Like
The first thing that the officer is going to do after he pulls an individual over is walk up to the car, explain why they pulled them over, ask to see their license and proof of insurance and then make any other observations they can of the individual driver. What they’re looking for is the odor of alcohol, slurred speech, bloodshot glassy eyes, flushed complexion, difficulty retrieving documents when requested, confusion and anything that would tend to point towards impairment.
After that, the officer will ask where you were coming from and what you were doing there, hoping to get an admission to consumption of alcohol at some point. At that point, if the officers believe they have enough reasonable grounds to continue the investigation, they’ll ask the individual to step out of the vehicle and perform field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are entirely voluntary. There is no requirement that you do them. However, most people aren’t aware of that and end up consenting to field sobriety tests when they don’t have any legal obligation to consent.
Portable Breath Testing
After the field sobriety tests are concluded, the officer may ask an individual to blow into a portable breath test. That portable breath testing device is not admissible in court to show breath alcohol content, but the officer will use it to make a probable cause determination. At that point, after the individual either consents or refuses to blow into the portable breath test, the officer will make an arrest decision. They’ll decide whether or not they want to arrest that individual for suspicion of DUI and ask them to blow into a breathalyzer.
Post arrest, the officer may choose to search that individual’s vehicle incident to the arrest. When they do that search, they may be looking for things like receipts from the bar, or empty beer bottles, or an open container. Because of these types of searches, it is important to consult with a Maryland criminal defense attorney who can verify whether the searches were legal and can prepare you for what’s next.
Can You Refuse To Take a BAC Test in Howard County?
Yes you are allowed to refuse a BAC test in Howard County. While there’s a different set of administrative penalties for refusing to do a breathalyzer test than for blowing into the breathalyzer machine, there is no criminal penalty separately for refusal other than the fact that the Howard County prosecutor can seek an enhanced penalty for a conviction if the individual chooses not to blow into the breathalyzer. Frequently the state attorney’s office will submit the enhanced penalty notice, but it usually doesn’t make a significant difference in the practical outcome of the case.
Meaning that because an individual usually gets so much less than the maximum sentence, any kind of maximum sentence enhancement isn’t going to really have much of an effect in an individual’s case.
Contacting An Attorney During a DUI Stop
Usually you cannot contact an attorney during a DUI stop. However, after the arrest when deciding to blow or not to blow into the breathalyzer, lots of officers will allow you to consult with your attorney.
Where an Individual is Taken Following a DUI Arrest
An individual will be taken back to the police station, either the state police barracks or the Howard County police department where they’re asked to submit to a breathalyzer test. The police will then let your friends or family come pick you up and some officers will even drive you back home depending on how busy they are and some other factors.
In some cases the officer can choose to have you booked in to see a commissioner. If that happens, then you’re going to be transported to the Howard County detention center and you’ll be taken in front of the commissioner either that evening or the next morning. The commissioner will determine whether or not you can be released on your own recognizance or whether they’re going to require a bond to be posted for you to remain free pending the trial of the case.