If a police officer pulls you over under the suspicion that you are drunk, it is vital for you to know your rights and the potential consequences of an arrest. When an officer arrests you for impaired driving in Maryland, you will face immediate administrative penalties.
It is also possible to face criminal and license punishments if you receive a conviction.
What happens if I fail or refuse an alcohol test?
A police officer has the right to stop you and request you to submit to a breath test or field sobriety test if he or she suspects you are driving under the influence. If the officer arrests you for drunk driving, he or she must inform you of your rights before asking you to take a chemical test. The purpose of a chemical test is to determine your blood alcohol concentration. If the results of the test are at least 0.08 BAC, the officer will take your license and issue citations. According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, the same outcome occurs if you refuse to take the chemical BAC test.
What are the consequences of a conviction?
First, it is important to understand the difference between a DUI and DWI conviction in Maryland. DUI convictions occur when there is a BAC level of at least 0.08% and come with harsher penalties. DWI convictions occur when there are lower BAC levels but the officer still determines there is impairment.
A first-offense DUI can come with one year of jail time, a $1,000 fine and six-month license revocation. On the other hand, a first-time DWI may come with two months of imprisonment, a $500 fine and a six-month license suspension.
This is educational information only and is not legal advice.