If you’re ever pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, this is a time when details (even small ones) can matter a great deal. What you do (or don’t do) and what the police officer does (or doesn’t do) can determine whether or not you’ll lose your driver’s license… or maybe whether or not you’ll go to jail. With so much on the line, don’t delay in contacting an experienced Maryland criminal defense attorney about your case.
Maryland, like every other state, has what’s called “implied consent” laws. Because driving is a privilege and not a right, the state is free to say that you automatically consent to certain things when you seek and obtain a license to drive. One of those things to which you’ve implicitly consented is undergoing chemical tests when a law enforcement officer stops you on suspicion that you were driving drunk or high.
You still retain the right to refuse to undergo these things but, due to implied consent laws, the state MVA has the option to suspend your driving privileges based on that refusal. However, in order to punish you for refusing, the police first must complete some specific steps. First, the officer who stopped you for suspected DUI must sufficiently advise you of your rights. Then, the officer must give you the choice of either undergoing the chemical test or refusing (which would mean incurring penalties the MVA hands down.) As a recent Court of Appeals ruling has demonstrated, the first of these two steps is something where the police must act reasonably, making it an area where details matter significantly.