Know Your Rights During a DUI Arrest in Maryland
June 26, 2015
No one ever plans to get arrested, but when it happens, you will wish you were a bit more prepared. Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most common causes of traffic-related arrests in Maryland. If you ever find yourself in this situation, it helps to know your rights and how to behave in order to minimize negative consequences. As Baltimore DUI attorneys, we help clients with DUI defense on a daily basis. Below are some basic rights you should be aware of in case you are stopped by a Maryland police officer on a suspicion of DUI.
Field DUI Tests
When police officers stop your vehicle, they don’t initially know that you’ve been driving under the influence. They may have suspicions due to the way you operated your vehicle, but they are not yet planning to arrest you. Once you pull over, the officer will judge your appearance and speech to determine whether you’ve been drinking. To obtain even more grounds for your arrest, the officer may also ask you to perform field sobriety tests, as well as a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT).
Not many Maryland drivers know that under the Maryland Code, Transportation Article § 16-205.2, you can refuse to take the field sobriety tests, including the preliminary breathalyzer test, without any consequences. In fact, the police officer should read you your rights before administering any tests, and they should mention that the test is not mandatory. On the other hand, the results of these field tests can’t be used in court as evidence against you, but results favorable to you can be used in your defense.
Right to Remain Silent
Even before the arrest is made and before the officer reads your Miranda Rights, you can take advantage of the right to remain silent. You don’t have to answer any questions, such as where you were coming from or how much you’ve had to drink. This is a good strategy to avoid incriminating yourself by accident. However, be polite and tell the officer that you are not answering questions until you speak with your lawyer, which brings us to the next point.
Right to Consult With Your Maryland DUI Lawyer
As soon as you are arrested and brought to the police station, your first phone call should be to your Maryland DUI defense attorney. Once in police custody, you will be asked to perform a formal breath or blood test. Refusal to submit to it may lead to confiscation of your license and suspension of your driving privileges. You have the right to speak with your lawyer before any tests are performed.
Whether you talk to your legal representative on the phone or in person, you need to make sure they can respond promptly. It’s typically required that the formal chemical test is performed within 2 hours of your arrest, so you want to make sure you can reach your attorney in time.
Request for Physician
If you have reasons to suspect that the test administered by the police was not done properly or wasn’t accurate, you can get a second opinion. You may request your physician to come and repeat the test, as long as you are ready to bear the financial responsibility for it. Consult with your Maryland DUI attorney before making this decision.
Hopefully, you will never need to put these rights to use, but if you do, make sure your first call is to the DUI defense attorneys at DRA e-Law. We can ensure prompt response and professional legal representation—call us or contact online for a consultation.