Refusing a Breathalyzer After an Ocean City DUI
If you are a Maryland driver, and you have received a license for the state of Maryland, you have agreed that: if asked by an officer who had a reasonable basis to do so, you would take a breath test. This does not include the preliminary breath test, but a breath test that would take place at the state police barracks or the police department that maintains a breathalyzer machine.
The breathalyzer machines are the devices that are considered to be admissible in court. Their scientific reliability is high enough that the state allows those breath test results to be used in court.
So if an officer asks a Maryland driver if they will agree to take a breathalyzer, the driver has the right to refuse. The driver can say “No, I am not going to agree to take a breathalyzer test.” The refusal to take that test however could lead to a suspension of that person’s privilege to drive.
If the person refuses to take the breath test, and if it’s the first time that they have ever done it, their privilege to drive is going to be suspended for 90 days. If they have previously refused, then their privilege to drive could be suspended for a year. Those are some consequences at the MVA if a person refuses to take a breathalyzer test.
What to Expect When Refusing a Breathalyzer in Ocean City
If the officer stops a person and asks them to take the breath test, then based on the results, different things will happen.
If the person blows at least at .08, the officer will take the Maryland driver’s actual license and will give the driver a temporary paper license. That temporary paper license will be valid for the next 45 days. The driver is also told that they have certain rights, for example, to request a hearing, they could ask to be heard to challenge whether the officer had a reasonable suspicion to ask them to take the test.
If the driver refuses to take the breathalyzer test, again the officer can take the Maryland license and give the driver a temporary paper license, and it will be valid for 45 days.
If the person is a Pennsylvania driver—or any other out-of-state driver—the officer does not have the authority to take that person’s Pennsylvania license. The driver would keep their Pennsylvania license, but they would still receive paperwork that says here’s what happened in Maryland. Because you refuse to take the breath taste, that person’s privilege to drive could still be suspended in the state of Maryland but the state has no authority to take another state’s license.
Then it’s a question of will the state of Pennsylvania—or the state of Delaware or the state of New Jersey, wherever that person is vacationing from—impose any sanctions because of either a breath test result of .08 or greater or a refusal to take a breath test.
And there is a possibility to get a restricted license to be able to drive for some very, very limited reasons. The driver also has the option if they want to, to be able to continue to drive but they will have to have an interlock device placed in their car.
So that can be incredibly expensive to have one that is placed in the vehicle because it has to be installed and maintained. So it can get very expensive.