It is a question that many drivers ask when they are pulled over because
of suspected drunk driving: Do they have to take a breathalyzer test?
In some cases, Maryland residents may be able to refuse a breathalyzer
test, though that choice does come with consequences. Law enforcement
officers may still be able to obtain a warrant for your blood, urine or
breath even if you refuse a preliminary screening. Refusal may ultimately
DWI case, though it could also lead to unnecessary license suspension.
The consequences for refusing a blood test are generally far less severe
than those for a DUI charge. For example, refusing a test could lead to
an automatic suspension for up to a year, depending on the number of previous
violations. Thus, those drivers who may have a blood alcohol content far
above the legal limit of 0.08 percent may be better served to consider
breath test refusal, especially considering the penalties for high-BAC
In some jurisdictions, officers may forcibly draw your blood for a BAC
test if you fail to consent. This generally occurs when a defendant has
been involved in a major crash. Forced blood draws always require a warrant,
though they are rarely performed.
Refusing to take a BAC test does not mean that you are automatically off
the hook for your DUI charge, though. Officers can compile other evidence
to bring against you in court, including observations about your behavior.
Ultimately, breath test refusal is only advisable in certain select circumstances.
Drivers must consider their level of intoxication and legal restrictions
before refusing a test — although you may be able to call an attorney
before submitting to a breathalyzer.