What happens if you refuse a breathalyzer test?

UPDATED: Dec 2, 2018

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What happens if you refuse a breathalyzer test?

I have a friend who refused and was wondering what will happen.

Asked on December 2, 2018 under Criminal Law, Maryland


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Refusing a DUI test can be tempting, however the possible consequences of refusing to submit to such test can be severe. MD’s “implied consent” law states that if you are lawfully stopped and detained by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you've been driving while intoxicated, then you consent to taking a test of your breath (or blood/urine) to determine your BAC (blood alcohol content). You do not have to take this preliminary test, and the officer should say so. Refusing it, however, probably won’t work in your favor. If the officer has some other reason to think you had been drinking and driving, then they can detain you and you cannot refuse without facing certain penalties. If you refuse, your license will be suspended for 120 days for your first refusal and for a second refusal or more, a suspension for 1 year. Further, refusing the test does not guarantee that you won’t be convicted of a DUI. The fact is that anytime someone is stopped for a suspected DUI, they should consult directly with a local crimina law attorney who specializes these cases, as they can best advise further.  

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