Maryland has made the law clear. If the authorities request that you take a breathalyzer test and you refuse, you can face immediate penalties.
However, it is important to consider what you do here carefully since taking the breath test and failing it leads to even more severe penalties. Knowing your legal rights, options and potential penalties will help you make the right decision in these situations.
Penalties for refusing a breath test
Maryland implements immediate license suspension if you refuse a breath test. This means that the officer who requests this test has the right to confiscate your license immediately.
For a first-time offender, the penalty is a 270-day license suspension. For subsequent refusals, you face a two-year license suspension.
Potential penalties for failing a breath test in Maryland
While the penalties for refusing a breath test are significant, if you take it and fail it, the penalties are even more severe.
The actual penalties you will face depend on if you have any prior convictions within the past five years.
For a first offense, you could face jail time of up to one year, fines of up to $1,000 and a mandatory license suspension of six months. You may also have 12 points assessed to your driving record.
For subsequent offenses, the jail time and fines increase. The penalties for being convicted of DUI with children in the car are also severe and another factor that determines the actual penalties you face.
Protecting your rights
Being pulled over is a scary situation for many people. If the officer requests that you take a breath test, consider your situation carefully. While you may lose your license if you refuse, this may be your best option. Also, in these situations, you have legal rights and the opportunity to fight the charges in court.