Breath test refusals give way to license suspensions in Maryland

| Aug 30, 2017 | Breath Test Refusal

A Maryland Court of Appeals ruling just this past April affirmed that individuals who are suspected to be intoxicated, yet refuse to take a breath test, can have their licenses suspended. While many states will automatically suspend a driver’s license if they refuse a Breathalyzer test, the fact that it extends to include those who are not even operating a vehicle at the time concerns many.

While many anti-drunk driving organizations see this ruling as a move in the right direction, many motorists polled see it as counterproductive. Particularly, they wonder why doing the right thing by parking, pulling over or calling a taxi to help them get home if they’re drunk, should be penalized.

As the way things currently stand, any individual that is considered to be in control of a motor vehicle can have their driver’s license suspended if they refuse to take a breath test if it’s requested of them. The ruling presumes that anyone in a car with the keys within their reach is in control of a car. Therefore, anyone fitting this bill has the potential of losing their driving privileges.

This ruling concerns most motorists because it seems to penalize them, even if they’re waiting in their cars to sober up. Under the ruling, police officers need only to suspect, or have some degree of “reasonable suspicion,” that an individual is drunk to request for them to take a breath test. If they choose not to do so, they automatically lose their license.

If you’ve had your license suspended since this ruling has been brought down and/or have been charged with a drunk driving offense, then you may benefit from discussing potential defense strategies in your case with a Baltimore attorney.

Source: WBAL TV, “Impaired drivers trying to do right thing can still get in trouble,” David Collins, accessed Aug. 30, 2017

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