Even if it’s just for speeding or having a brake light out, being pulled over isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. If you’ve been drinking, however, seeing lights and hearing sirens behind you can bring on an entirely new level of anxiety. If an officer suspects you of driving under the influence of alcohol, one of the first things he will usually do is ask you to step out of the car for a field sobriety test. These tests can include both balancing exercises and a Breathalyzer to measure your blood-alcohol content.
According to the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration, a blood-alcohol level of .07 or higher qualifies as driving while impaired (DWI), while a level of .08 or higher is classified as driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI).
If you suspect your blood-alcohol levels may be close to or over the legal limit, you may wonder if it is better to refuse the sobriety tests altogether. While you technically do have the right to refuse the tests, there are some serious repercussions to be aware of. Refusing a field sobriety or Breathalyzer test means your license will be automatically suspended for 120 days, assuming it is your first offense, and the officer will file the paperwork necessary to prepare a drunk driving case against you.
If you get pulled over and aren’t sure if you can pass a Breathalyzer, call an attorney. He or she can help you make that decision. A lot of people don’t realize that they have the right to have a lawyer present while taking a breath or blood test – but you do. Take advantage of that right.
No matter which option you are leaning toward – taking the field sobriety tests and Breathalyzer or refusing – chances are you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you with your case, especially if this is not your first offense. Make sure you get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible after being charged with a DWI or DUI.