Imagine if you were stopped for a routine traffic violation by a police officer. Now, imagine that the officer claims to smell alcohol in your vehicle. In the heat of the moment, you opt to decline a standard field sobriety test. Now, you learn that your driving privileges might be suspended for 120 days. For one man in Maryland, that is exactly what is happening.
The man was pulled over in September of 2011 for failing to obey a traffic control device. The state trooper who pulled the man over stated he detected a moderate smell of alcoholic beverage. The driver refused the sobriety test. The Maryland Court of Appeals has recently ruled that an officer alleging to smell alcohol provides enough evidence to suspend a driver’s license for 120 days.
A spokesperson for the Maryland State Police claims that officers are specially trained to detect the cues of someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. She further claims these officers are trained and certified in standardized field sobriety testing.
Some people claim this ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals goes against the well-known tenant of being innocent until proven guilty. The problem presented is that while it is illegal to drive while impaired by alcohol, it isn’t illegal to drive after drinking if the impairment isn’t a factor.
For anyone who is facing DUI charges, seeking the advice of a Maryland attorney well-versed in fighting drunk driving charges can help you to learn how to answer the charges. You can also get help to understand the charges, as well as the potential consequences of a conviction.
Source: FOX 45, “Court Rules ‘Odor of Alcohol’ Legitimate Evidence in DUI Case” No author given, Dec. 30, 2013