Breathe Test Refusal and Failure Consequences
February 25, 2016 admin
Consequences of Refusing or Failing a Breath Test
Maryland is an “implied consent” state, which means that all drivers who do not are consent to chemical testing upon request by a law enforcement officer are subject to penalties. The officer must have “reasonable suspicion” to ask for a breath test, such as visible signs of intoxication.
If the driver refuses to take the breath test or registers a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or more, the Maryland Secretary of State will suspend the driver’s license. The period of suspension is longer for DUI offenders who refuse chemical testing. Seek legal advice immediately if you have been charged with a DUI.
Length of Suspension
The length of suspension depends upon whether this is your “first” offense and whether you consented to the breath test. The consequences are outlined below:
- First offender means that you have no DUI arrests in the previous 5
- Failure of breath test results in 6-month suspension
- Refusal to take breath test results in 12-month suspension
- Non-first offender means you had a DUI arrest within the last 5 years or
- Failure of breath test results in 12-month suspension without driving relief
- Refusal to take breath test results in 3-year suspension without driving relief
Maryland takes DUI offenses seriously and exacts stricter punishment for those who refuse the chemical test. But as a legal tactic, first time offenders should consider refusing the chemical test and obtain legal counsel to defend their refusal later.
No driver should ever consent to a field sobriety or portable breath test administered at the scene of the traffic stop. The results are generally inaccurate, but may still be used as evidence against you.
Challenging Breath Machine Results
Failing a breath test does not equal a conviction. The human body contains hundreds of compounds, many of which have a similar molecular structure to ethanol. By identifying these compounds, breath machines can inflate a driver’s BAC level. Other challenges to breathe test results include:
- Tester’s skill and experience
- Quality of testing equipment
- Poor sample, exhalation too long
- Recent exposure to flammable substance
- Hyperthermia or elevated body temperature
- Holding breath, hypoventilation before sampling
- Medical condition like COPD, respiratory disease, diabetes, GERDS
In addition to the machine’s scientific uncertainty, there are additional, constitutional bases to challenge your test results. If the police improperly stopped or arrested you, failed to provide the proper warnings, or made any mistakes during the breath test, the results may be successfully challenged.
If there is any doubt about the test’s accuracy or the circumstances of your detention, the results cannot be used as evidence against you. The case against you will be weakened.
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