A DUI is a very serious offense, and being pulled over for DUI in Maryland is not a pleasant experience. If you are pulled over for a DUI or DWI, it is important to know your rights and stay in control of the situation. Knowing your rights under DUI Law in Maryland won’t prevent you from being charged with a DUI, but it can help mitigate the damage in the days to come. Below are several suggestions to keep in mind if you are ever pulled over for DUI in Maryland.
But if you are drinking and driving, your coordination and memory will be affected. You may not be able to remember what is written here, and you may not be able to complete the steps listed below. That’s why having a trusted attorney’s phone number with you at all times is crucial!
If you are pulled over for DUI in Maryland, you need to stay calm. Being pulled over for a DUI can be a nerve-wracking and frightening experience, but do your best to stay in control of your emotions and be respectful.
This is always good advice. It’s a safe bet that someone has been rude to this police officer at some point in the evening. Don’t be that person. Be nice. It will go a long way.
Know What Is Really Going On
Remember that police officers have been specially trained to watch everything you do like a hawk and to remember to record it meticulously. Also, the police officer’s observations of you did not begin when they walked up to your car. This officer was watching you from the minute that they first saw your vehicle. If you were driving erratically, this officer is trained to assume that you are under the influence. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the officer’s evaluation of you is just beginning.
Also, keep in mind that everything the police officer does when you are pulled over for DUI in Maryland has a purpose.
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Give the Officer Your License and Registration
Any time that you are pulled over for DUI in Maryland, the officer will ask to see your license and registration. This is entirely normal, and it is expected that you will comply with the request. When the officer asks for these documents, you don’t need to say or do anything other than promptly hand them over.
But, one thing you don’t know is that an officer has been trained to use his senses to make specific observations while asking you to do this normal test. He or she is watching your coordination and seeing if you have to motor skills to carry out this specific task while at the same time checking if there is an odor of alcohol coming from the car or you. You may think that this officer really wants to know your birth month, since they keep asking you about it while you are looking for your registration. But this is simply is a test to see whether you can search for your registration and remember information at the same time.
Do Not Say Anything More Than Needed
Throughout the roadside stop, do not do or say anything beyond what is absolutely necessary. As mentioned above, a police officer has the right to request to see your license and registration, but nothing else. You do not have to answer any of the officer’s questions. You do not need to tell them where you are coming from, where you are headed, or how much you have had to drink.
Why be so brief with the officer? Almost nothing that you say will help your situation. More importantly, the more you speak, the more you risk speaking with slurred speech. Even worse, you may say something that can hurt your ability to defend against charges at a later date. Remember from the previous section when we said the officer is trained to use all of his senses. Here the officer is using his hearing in a very specifically trained way.
Don’t Just Do Everything Asks You To Do
If the officer asks you to step out of the vehicle because they would like you to take some tests on the side of the road, just say no. Of course, you should be polite about it. And the officer might not even tell you they are tests. They might say that they just want to make sure you are safe before you get back on the road, or tell you that you will be arrested if you don’t take these tests. Those are traps.
If you are pulled over for DUI in Maryland, you will be arrested whether you take those tests or not. And if the police officer has the right to arrest you without taking any tests, then what good will the tests do for you? Remember that the officer wants to give you a test. Were you trained to take these tests? Of course not. Would you ever think it is fair to take a test on the first day of class? Again, of course not. So don’t do it here.
By law, refusing DUI/DWI breath tests on the side of the road cannot be used against you in trial because none of these tests are required. Refusing these tests is your right.
Decide On The Breathalyzer
This is by far the toughest decision you will have to make after being pulled over for DUI in Maryland. When you are taken to the police station and asked to take a breathalyzer, you will be read a lot of information by the officer. An officer will be reading you an “Advice of Rights” form.
Some people will take this test, and some will choose to decline it for a variety of reasons. But no matter what you decide, you have a right to call an attorney before taking this test. You can’t delay for hours, but an officer must allow you make a phone call to an attorney if you ask. You want to have the number of a law firm that will take calls around the clock, such as Zirkin and Schmerling’s 24-hour line that puts you in touch with experienced DUI attorneys. Keep our number with you, just in case you ever need an attorney fast. Check out our article on blood alcohol content legal limits for more information about your rights in this situation.
Request Your Attorney
The police officer is not obliged to advise you of your right to an attorney until you have been arrested. When you are arrested the officer will typically read you your Miranda rights. Do not say anything else, but make sure that you specifically ask for your attorney right away. This compels an officer to stop asking you questions because you are asserting a Constitutional Right and the officer knows it. Once you’ve been processed and booked at the station, you should call your attorney immediately. It is very easy to lose your driver’s license after DUI in Maryland, so talking to a lawyer should be your top priority.
If you are drinking and driving, your coordination and memory will be affected. You may not be able to remember what is written above. That’s why having a knowledgeable attorney on your side during this difficult time is so important. An experienced attorney, like those at Zirkin and Schmerling Law, can help you protect your legal rights at this important time. Do not wait for the worst to happen. Call our attorneys at 410-753-4611 to if you are pulled over for DUI in Maryland.