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Breathalyzers in Montgomery County DUI Cases

Breathalyzers are a common tool law enforcement officials in Montgomery County use to help them determine if someone has been driving under the influence. Prosecutors and the courts also use the information from these breathalyzer tests to bolster their case against an individual who has been charged with a DUI, which is why people need to know their rights regarding breathalyzer tests. Below, a Montgomery County DUI lawyer details some common misconceptions about breathalyzers and what happens when someone refuses to take one. Call today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.

Common Myths About Breathalyzers in Montgomery County

One of the big misconceptions about breathalyzers is that a refusal to submit to a breathalyzer results in an automatic license suspension. This is in some ways different from a successful blow will result in automatic license suspension.

Refusing Breath Tests in Maryland

Regarding breath testing, Maryland operates under the rules of “implied consent.” Implied consent basically means that if you’re operating a motor vehicle you have implied consent, that is, you have already agreed to submit to a breath test.

If you choose not to submit to the breath test and the MVA can prove it (which is really the important component in this situation), then that will result in a 270 day suspension of your driver’s license or driving privilege in Maryland for a first violation. Alternatively, you can opt for one year of participation in the ignition interlock program.

The penalty for a high blow in Maryland (which is a blow of 0.15 or higher) is almost exactly the same as the penalty for a refusal. The penalties for a first high blow in Maryland are a 90 day hard license suspension or one year participation in ignition interlock.

If you’re going to participate in the ignition interlock program, it’s the exact same penalty if you blow high or if you refuse and if you’re just going to take the no driving suspension then it’s only 30 days longer for a first refusal than it is for a first high blow. In lots of situation, it’s easier for your case in court if there’s no breathalyzer than if there’s a very high breathalyzer reading. It’s important to understand those differences before deciding whether or not  to blow into a breathalyzer.

Other Important Things About Breathalyzers in Montgomery County

It is really important to talk to somebody who understands how breathalyzer tests are admitted, how they can be challenged and who has really done a lot of case with those specific issues. Just having a broad understating of criminal defense principles isn’t necessarily as helpful to a lawyer defending a DUI case as having specific experience with those types of issues that pertains to breathalyzers or chemical analysis.

Though the court system and prosecutors place a lot of faith on breathalyzer results, their reliability can be called into question by an experienced Montgomery County DUI attorney who will challenge whether the device was properly calibrated and used correctly.