In the state of Maryland, you automatically give consent to have your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tested when requested by a police officer when you receive your driver’s license. This is considered implied consent and is generally the case in all U.S. states. While you can technically refuse a BAC test — either a breathalyzer test or a blood sample test — this is generally not a good idea and comes with a few serious ramifications. This is unlike refusing field sobriety tests — you have the right to refuse submitting to field sobriety testing without consequence. The same is not true of refusing a BAC test.
The Confiscation of Your Driver’s License In Maryland
If you refuse a BAC test after a Maryland law enforcement officer pulls you over, you will have your license confiscated just as if you had taken the test and failed it. The officer will issue you an Order of Suspension and a temporary license. The officer will also begin preparing a case for the MVA, or Motor Vehicle Administration.
Requesting an MVA Hearing within 30 Days
You have 30 days to request a hearing with the MVA in writing and pay a $150 filing fee (or a fee waiver) after you received your Order of Suspension. However, if you do not request a hearing within 10 days after you received your Order of Suspension, your license may be suspended before the hearing. It is in your best interest to act as quickly as possible and request a hearing with the MVA right away after being given an Order of Suspension for refusing to take a BAC test. If your request for a hearing is postmarked 31 days or more after you received the Order of Suspension, your request will automatically be denied.
Longer Term Suspension of Your Driver’s License
In Maryland, the penalty for refusing to take a BAC test is the suspension of your license. A first offense refusal merits a 270 day suspension. A second offense refusal merits a two-year suspension. To put it into perspective, even a conviction of a first offense DUI only carries a 180 day suspension if your BAC was between 0.08 and 0.15.
Should You Refuse a BAC Test in Maryland?
Although you can refuse a BAC test under Maryland law, you most likely shouldn’t, even if you are intoxicated. You stand a much better chance of having charges dismissed or penalties reduced if you submit to a BAC test, fail, and are convicted.
For aggressive DUI defense in Maryland, contact Richard J. Brueckner at (410) 430-1464.