If a police officer suspects that you have been driving under the influence, they may ask you to blow into a breathe device. The purpose of a breathe test is to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC) level and determine whether it is over the legal limit of 0.08. A driver with a BAC level over the legal limit is presumed to be legally intoxicated and will likely be arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence.
What happens if I refuse a breath test?
Under Maryland’s implied consent laws, all licensed drivers are legally obligated to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test if asked to do so by an officer. If you refuse to take the test, your license will automatically be suspended for 270 days for first-time offenders and two years for second-time offenders and beyond.
While having your license suspended for any period of time can be an inconvenience, refusing a breath test can help you avoid a DUI conviction. Without the results from a breath test, prosecutors will find it challenging to prove that you were driving under the influence. However, keep in mind that even without these test results, prosecutors may present other evidence to show that you were intoxicated behind the wheel. This evidence may include police observation of your behavior and field sobriety test results.
Defending against drunk driving charges
If you do choose to submit to a breath test, the criminal defense attorney can still find ways to defend against your drunk driving charges. For example, just because the breath test device registered a 0.08 BAC does not mean that the results are accurate. Breath test devices must be properly calibrated prior to administrating a test and must be properly administered by trained officers. Your attorney may question the accuracy of the results as part of your defense.
Another defense strategy requires your attorney to question when the test was administered. Your blood alcohol level can rise over time. If a test was administered much later than the initial stop, the results may be inaccurate.
Breathalyzer results are often a key component of a DUI case. A defense attorney can help dispute the results and make it much harder for the prosecution to prove their case against you.