You’re driving down the road and a Maryland law enforcement officer stops you on suspicion of drunk driving. The officer is asking you to take a breathalyzer test. Do you have to take it? What will happen if you refuse? Will you go to jail?
No matter what you choose to do, contact a DUI defense attorney as quickly as possible.
Should You Take the Test? Maybe or Maybe Not
It may be frustrating to hear this, but it’s hard to say whether you should take the breathalyzer test without knowing your exact situation. Maybe. Maybe not.
First, you should know that there are two types of breathalyzer tests.
One is a roadside test that comes up when officer interviews you at the location where they pulled you over. It’s called a Preliminary Breath Test and the officer will usually politely request that you take it by saying something like, “Before I can let you go, would you mind taking a quick breath test?”
There are no consequences for refusing to take a preliminary breath test. The officer is merely requesting it and you are definitely permitted to decline.
The second kind of breathalyzer test is much more official and takes place at the police precinct. At this point, you’ve been taken away from your car and although you’re not under arrest, the officer is holding you temporarily to conduct an investigation.
This time, the officer will read a lengthy Advice of Rights form aloud to you that includes information about the suspended license sanctions you will face if you refuse the breathalyzer test. The form also explains that if you take the test and give too high a reading, your license can be suspended, and you may face other consequences.
After reading the form, the officer will again ask you, “Would you take a breathalyzer test?” So now what? Should you say yes or no?
Learn the Seven Best Words to Say
If you refuse to take the official breathalyzer test at the police precinct, a variety of things could happen. In addition to having your driver’s license suspended for anywhere from six months to 2 years, you could face other repercussions that affect your life, income, and family. As a CDL driver, for example, you could lose your CDL license which could cause you to lose your job.
Of course, by refusing the test you also prevent the state of Maryland from having a vital piece of evidence against you. Breathalyzer tests are admissible in court.
It’s your choice to make. The officers aren’t allowed to pin you down and force you to submit to the breathalyzer test.
This is when you need to know the seven most important words you’ll ever say: I want to speak to my attorney. If you ask, an officer must suspend the interview and allow you to speak to your attorney. It may take some time and you’ll probably need to reach an attorney who’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year-round.
A DUI charge is a very serious situation and can happen at any time of the day or night. This is a critical point in your life and you shouldn’t do anything without legal representation. Reach out to a DUI defense attorney who can help you decide whether it’s a good idea to take the breathalyzer test.
Have a Legal Question About a Breathalyzer Test? We Have Answers
If you need to decide whether to take a breathalyzer test, the attorneys at Zirkin and Schmerling Law can help. Contact us or call us at 410-753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our DUI attorneys today.