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What happens if you refuse or fail a breathalyzer test?

Once you are pulled over by a police officer on suspicion of drunken driving, you face severe penalties. The officer will administer a field sobriety test, which you may accept or refuse. This post will go over your options if you refuse to submit to the field sobriety test.

If you refuse, the officer will do the following:

  • Confiscate your license (if it is a Maryland license).
  • Issue you a temporary paper license.
  • And prepare a case for the Maryland Vehicle Administration.

Once that happens, there are several options from which you may choose. Bear in mind that these are responses for the civil penalties associated with a DUI, not the criminal.

First, you can request to participate in the ignition interlock program for one year. The instructions will be found on the reverse side of the citation you receive. You can opt into this program to avoid an administrative hearing and retain your license. But you must pay for the cost of the program, mainly the cost of installing, maintaining, and removing the device from your vehicle.

Second, you may request a hearing within 30 days to show why your license should not be suspended. The hearing will allow you to submit evidence and arguments in your favor. You may also hire an attorney to assist you. You will be assessed a fee for the hearing.

If you do not take either of these options, the MVA will suspend your license. The term of the suspension will depend on the circumstances of the DUI and your prior criminal history.

As you can see, there is an entire alternative arena that you must defend yourself in if you are arrested for a DUI. The MVA acts independently of the courts. You may even face a license suspension if you are found not guilty at trial. A lawyer can help you through both the criminal and civil aspects of your case to ensure that you present the strongest possible defense.

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