Breath and Blood Tests in Maryland DUI Cases

In Maryland, breath tests are commonly administered to those believed to be under the influence by law enforcement. With this in mind, the following is information on how these tests are used and when someone may be asked to take one. To learn more or discuss your case, call today and schedule a consultation with a Maryland DUI lawyer.

Breath and Blood Tests

The vast majority of DUI cases in Maryland are breath test cases. The only time when an individual is going to be asked to submit blood is when they’re physically unable to get to the police station or in cases involving serious injury or death. In those cases, a blood test is mandated. There are lot of evidentiary rules in Maryland to make it easier to admit a breath test. The only person that has to be present for that is the test technician. The machines are certified and calibrated and the test technician just has to make records to prove the machine works. For a blood test, State needs to prove chain of custody, as well as having the actual chemist who did the chemical analysis be present. So, it’s a lot tougher for the state to admit blood results than breath results in DUI cases.

The Use of Blood Tests in Maryland DUIs

An individual is asked to do a breath test basically every time that they’re arrested for a DUI. The breath test is the standard. An individual will be asked to submit to a blood test if they’re physically unable to get to the police station to comply or they’re involved in an automobile accident involving serious injury or death. And in those cases those tests are mandatory, those tests must be taken.

BAC Test Results: Blood and Breath Tests

Well, they’re used to prove intoxication or impairment. So, if an individual is a 0.08 or higher that could cause him to be convicted of DUI per se. If an individual is a 0.07, that could cause a conviction for driving while impaired which is a lesser offense. Occasionally, you see tests where the test shows sobriety.  Where an individual blows something under a 0.06, which creates a presumption that the individual was in fact sober at the time of driving and then the state would have to argue against that.

Refusing Blood Tests: Impact on Your Case

It makes it basically impossible for the state to prove DUI per se since they can’t prove that the individual was over a .08 BAC. That leaves the state with the 21-902 (a)(1) and (b)(1) charges, the DUI and the DWI. At that point,  the state doesn’t have to prove a breath test. They have to prove that an individual was either drunk or buzzed which is a much tougher thing for the state to prove. So generally speaking, refusing to do a chemical test makes the criminal case a lot easier.

Penalties for Blood Test Refusal

Well, in theory there could be enhanced penalty if an individual refuses, but generally that’s much more of a theoretical than a practical concern. Just because the maximum penalty for DUI and DWI is already so much higher than the actual penalty an individual is likely to receive. The big penalty for refusals comes in terms of the suspension of the drivers’ license. Refusal suspensions are longer than a suspension for an individual who blows into the breathalyzer and refusal suspensions are not modifiable. This means an individual can’t get a work permit or school permit to drive for necessary things. The only kind of modified license they’re eligible for in a refusal case is an interlock restricted license which requires an interlock in their car for a period of a year. So it’s a much more restrictive  penalty on the drivers’ license.