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Can I refuse a Breathalyzer test in Maryland?

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2021 | Drunk Driving

Being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in Maryland can be a terrifying and unsettling experience. The police may request that you submit to a chemical (blood, breath or urine) test to ascertain your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Most often, you will be asked to take a Breathalyzer test, though.

Under Maryland law, you cannot be compelled to yield to a chemical test. But while you have the right to refuse this test, it is important to understand that it has consequences. So what happens if you exercise your right to refuse the Breathalyzer test in Maryland?

Maryland is an “implied consent” state

When you signed the paperwork to secure a driver’s license and even operate a vehicle on public roads, you automatically agreed to submit to a chemical test should a law enforcement officer pull you over on suspicion of drunk driving. Thus, even though you have the right to refuse the test, you need to be aware that there will be consequences for your refusal. 

Your driver’s license will be suspended on the spot if you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test. If you refuse for the second time, you will lose the right to drive in Maryland for a longer period of time. 

Can I drive after refusing the Breathalyzer test?

As already mentioned, your driver’s license will be suspended on the spot if you refuse to yield to a chemical test. Thus, the only way you will be able to drive while your license is suspended is after requesting a hearing. You will have 10 days effective from the date of your license’s suspension to request a hearing, and you must agree to have your vehicle fitted with an interlock system (at your cost) to retain your driving privilege in Maryland. 

If you have been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and refuse to take the chemical test, you will be facing the possibility of losing your driving privileges for an extended period. With so much on the line, it is important that you understand your rights and obligations so you can make an informed decision when requested to take a chemical test in Maryland.