Maryland Chemical Testing for DUI
Each year there are thousands of drivers in the state of Maryland arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) due to a failed chemical test. While the Breathalyzer test is, by far, the most common form of test utilized by law enforcement for DUI, there are many instances in which a blood test may be administered. For specific answers to questions related to your specific DUI charge, contact a Maryland DUI attorney today.
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Different Chemical Tests in DUI Cases
No matter what type of test you are given, a blood test or Breathalyzer, the chemical test will measure the amount of alcohol that is present in your bloodstream. The result is your blood alcohol content (BAC) and displayed in the form of a percentage. In accordance with federal law, when your BAC reaches 0.08 percent you are considered unable to drive. This means if you have a blood test or Breathalyzer results that are over this limit, you will be arrested for DUI.
Generally, the blood test will only be administered if an alleged DUI offender is involved in some type of auto accident and becomes injured or unconscious. The law does not require your consent to the blood test, as is the case with Breathalyzer evaluation.
Any blood test that is administered has to be performed at a hospital and then analyzed by a state laboratory if the results are going to be used for evidence against you. Another stipulation of the blood test is that it has to be administered within two hours after your initial arrest and be completed by a professional utilizing the proper type of equipment.
Even though blood tests are much more reliable than other types of chemical testing methods, they are also prone to human error. It has been suggested by recent research that the accuracy of these tests can be negatively impacted by a variety of factors, such as the condition in which the blood was stored and how long the sample was left to sit before it was tested. Some labs may use not keep proper records and follow procedure to the letter. A dedicated Maryland DUI lawyer will be well-versed in the inherent flaws in this system of evaluation, and will aggressively pursue this an avenue of defense if your blood test results were questionable.
Refusing a Chemical Test in Maryland for DUI
In the state of Maryland, a police officer does not have to arrest you in order to request a breath, blood or urine test. They should, however, tell you of the potential consequences if you deny this testing:
Consequences for denying a Breathalyzer test in the state of Maryland are as follows:
- First Offense: Suspension of your license for 270 days
- Second Offense: License suspension for one year
- Third Offense: License suspension for one year
You should also be informed that if you do consent to the testing, and you have a BAC that is .08 percent or more, an order of suspension of your license will be issued at this point. Upon refusal of this test, the officer will seize your license and provide you with a temporary license that will be good for a period of 45 days.
During this process, the office will also inform you that you have to request a hearing within 30 days if you plan to challenge the license suspension. The state of Maryland offers another option if you want to continue driving but do not want a hearing. If this is the first time you have refused the test and you are not involved in any related injury accident when the test is requested, then you will have the option of requesting an interlock restricted license for a period of one year.
The conviction for DUI in the state of Maryland can include the suspension of your license, significant fines, and the potential for a substantial amount of time in jail. It is also important to understand that refusing the test does not mean that you cannot be charged. You may be found guilty even if the state does not have any proof that your BAC was higher than .08 percent. The refusal of the test can be used against you by the prosecution during your hearing. However, if you believe your BAC may be extremely high, you may be better off refusing the initial test.