We’ve already pointed out in previous posts that whether or not it is wise to submit to a breath test during a DUI investigation in Maryland depends on the specific factors at play in each case. Oftentimes, it is difficult for a motorist to determine for sure whether refusing a breath test is a good decision, at least until they look back on the case and how it played out. Still, it is important to keep the previously mentioned points in mind and be informed about the place of breath testing in DUI investigation and prosecution.
Most of the reflections so far have taken it for granted that the individual in question is a first-time offender. In light of that, and to provide a more direct answer to the question of whether it is smart to refuse a breath test—generally speaking, it is usually better for a first-time offender to take the test.
One of the reasons for this is that first-time offenders often have the ability to continue driving, at least on a restricted basis, and may even have the possibility of being placed on probation and having charges dismissed if they follow the conditions of probation. Whether or not this is possible depends on the facts of the case, to be sure, and it is important to work with an experienced attorney to minimize the consequences of DUI charges.
Repeat offenders, by contrast, should be more cautious about refusing a test, particularly if they have reasonable assurance that the investigating officer or officers have otherwise gathered significant evidence of intoxication. That being said, a repeat offender’s refusal of a test can sometimes help reduce the total load of evidence just enough that prosecutors may end up asking for reduced charges or a reduced criminal penalty. The administrative consequences—the driver’s license suspension—would still stand, but one may have good grounds to contest the suspension, depending on the facts.
For both first-time offenders and repeat offenders, it is important to build a strong criminal defense case early on. Our firm has the knowledge, experience and dedication to ensure that DUI defendants receive strong advocacy in their case.