Wheaton, MD criminal defense lawyer David Moise explains why it’s your right to refuse a DUI/DWI test.
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So, there are no consequences to doing it. It’s not legally required. It’s the same as if a police officer asked you, “Can I search your car?” and you say, “No.” which is your constitutional right. Now, the police have their own job to do, and if they observe an odor of alcohol or bad driving or something that makes them believe that you’re impaired by alcohol, they may still arrest you. But, by not doing the tests, you have not allowed them to collect evidence on you in this very controlled environment. The tests are designed to confuse. They’re designed to give multiple instructions for multiple different angles. And so that a person that’s under the stress of dealing with the police may not follow the directions correctly.
What a lot of people don’t know is, it’s not just about coordination, it’s about following the directions. And in that moment when you’re so scared, it’s very easy to not listen or not hear or simply not follow to a T what the officer asked you to do. In Maryland, if the first time you’re offered a blood or breath test and you refuse, you are subject to a 270-day suspension of your license. The only way to modify that suspension, meaning the only way for you to drive, is if you get an ignition interlock system installed in your car for one year. Now, there are defenses to someone who may have refused to blow and not been properly advised or not been advised under the right circumstances. But, as a general rule, refusing to blow will cause loss of your license.