Breathalyzer and Field Sobriety Tests in Maryland

If you are pulled over by an officer because you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, one of the first decisions you will face is whether or not to agree to field sobriety tests or a Breathalyzer. Calling an attorney from the side of the roadway is not typically an option, so it is best to be prepared in advance and understand your rights with respect to Breathalyzer and field sobriety tests in Maryland.

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I am Maryland DWI and DUI defense attorney Charles L. Waechter, and I have been representing clients and protecting their rights for more than 30 years. I offer free consultations over the phone or at any of my four office locations in Baltimore, Annapolis, Ocean City and Bel Air.

There Are Consequences for Not Taking the Breathalyzer Test

In Maryland, it is important to understand that you cannot be compelled to submit to a field sobriety test or a Breathalyzer. However, by not agreeing to the tests, you will very likely face consequences from the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). Challenging a license suspension at an MVA hearing is a separate procedure with different rules than the criminal charges.

There are three standard types of field sobriety tests used by officers in Maryland: the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg stand test. The purpose of these tests is to help the officer determine if a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and they are designed to test a person's balance, coordination, memory and cognitive function.

There are a variety of defenses that must be considered if you have failed DUI test. I will examine the facts and circumstances of your case and evaluate possible defenses, including:

  • Is it possible that poor coordination or tiredness contributed to the result?
  • Were you suffering from the side effects of a medication that contributed to a loss of balance or cognitive function?
  • Do you have a disability or illness that contributed to the test results?
  • What conditions were present at the time of the testing? Was poor lighting, rain, wind or snow a factor?

Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge, contact my Maryland criminal defense law firm and ask to talk to me, attorney Charles L. Waechter, to schedule a consultation at your earliest convenience.