Last Updated: 07.22.2020
Baltimore DUI Lawyer explains how a new ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals has changed DUI litigation
A new ruling handed down by the Maryland Court of Appeals may change the way DUIs are handled in the future. A few weeks ago, the court ruled in MVA v. Deering, that a person who refuses to give a breath test while pulled over for suspected Baltimore DUI because they wish to have an attorney present, is not entitled to have the automatic suspension of their license set aside because they were not permitted their right to an attorney prior to consenting to the test.
Baltimore DUI Lawyer: MVA v. Deering (No. 25, Sept. term 2013)
When a person receives their Maryland driver’s license, they automatically give consent to a chemical test, usually a breath test, to determine their blood alcohol content when pulled over for a suspected DUI. However, even though a driver has already given consent to the test, they can still refuse. The refusal of the test has immediate consequences. By refusing to take the test, their license is automatically suspended for 120 days for a first-time offense, and 1 year for the second and subsequent offenses. If a person does submit to the chemical test and is found with a BAC of .08 or above their license is suspended for 45 days for the first offense and 90 days for the second and subsequent offense. The use of these automatic suspensions is to encourage drivers to take the test and protect the roadways from impaired drivers.
Once a person has been pulled over for a suspected Baltimore DUI, the police have 2 hours in which to administer a chemical test to determine a driver’s BAC. The 2-hour window is designed in order to preserve the evidence at hand because a person’s BAC changes over time. While deciding on whether to submit to a chemical test, some drivers would prefer to exercise their right to an attorney while deciding whether to blow or not to blow. The new ruling discusses the implications of this.
What does the new case say about breath tests?
The Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled “that, even if a suspected drunk driver is denied the opportunity to consult counsel before deciding whether to take a breath test under the implied consent, administrative per se law, the driver remains subject to the administrative license suspension that the statute assigns to a test refusal or a particular test result.”
Each Maryland driver, by accepting their Maryland driver’s license, has given consent for the police to administer a chemical test when pulled over for suspected DUI. If you decide to refuse to take a breath test, your license will automatically be suspended. Even if you say that you wish to exercise your right to a lawyer before giving a sample and you are denied, and you refuse to give a sample for the chemical test, your license will still be suspended for at least 120 days (depending on the number of previous offenses). Please understand, this does not affect the net effect on any subsequent criminal prosecution, only an MVA administrative case!
Baltimore DUI Lawyer: Bottom Line
If you have been arrested for a Baltimore DUI, you need legal representation. You do not have to deal with this alone and you may have a number of defenses to both the administrative hearing and the criminal charges. lawyers have extensive experience dealing with DUIs and DWIs and are here to help. Contact ENLawyers for a free consultation to discuss your case.