401 E. Pratt Suite 1252
Baltimore MD 21202
In 1993, I graduated with honors from Albany Law School in New York, the oldest independent law school in North America. Since then, I've handled thousands of cases in Maryland, New York, and Florida. I'm Licensed in: Maryland, New York and Florida, and a proud member of the Maryland State Bar Association,Baltimore City Bar Association and the Baltimore County Bar Association. I've defended hundreds of people accused of crimes. I've authored several published texts containing analysis and commentary on criminal procedure and our 4th, 5th and 6th Amendment Constitutional Rights. I've collected millions of dollars in needed, unpaid support, and maintenance for families and secured millions of dollars in compensation for victims of injury and the negligence of others. Let me put my background and experience to work on your case.
SHOULD I TAKE THE TEST?
For my Maryland client, the question often arises - what do I do if I get pulled over, and I've had a few drinks? If you've got your judgment about you, and you are familiar with the various tables that correlate weight, body type, drinks, and BAC [blood alcohol content], you can do some quick math, and see if the officer is going to have a case. A BAC above .08 is illegal. As most people aren't in the position to make that type of snap judgment, and don't have those tables in the glovebox, some more concrete advice from an experienced Baltimore DUI/DWI lawyer is likely desirable.
Respect the officer: Certainly you should be polite and respectful. There's always a chance you could be let go, however slight. More importantly, increasingly, these roadside encounters are on film, and in some jurisdictions required to be on film. So, considering that film may someday be played for a jury, you don't want to create a good "COPS" episode.
Don't help them: You might have to give your name, address, DL and registration, but you don't have to do much else. Where you've been and what you've consumed are questions you can decline to answer.
Don't take the field sobriety tests: You can refuse to take field sobriety test or PBT [preliminary breath test] which are not mandatory. Some Baltimore DUI/DWI lawyers have suggested that you ask to talk to a lawyer prior to determining whether or not you are going to submit to a field sobriety test or PBT. This may be a valid approach, but ultimately, it's unlikely the officer is going to let you make that call, and will arrest you anyway. There does not appear to be any Maryland case directly on this point, but, insofar as the U.S. Supreme Court has stated that there is no right to counsel before taking breathalyzer test, it may be unlikely there is a right to counsel prior to taking a field sobriety test or PBT, but opinions vary on this. The benefit to not taking the non-mandatory tests is that if the officer is going to arrest you, he or she will have to show later that there was "probable cause" for that arrest, which may be a more difficult task without the sobriety test. The officer, or State, will have to rely on things like "a strong odor of alcohol emanating from the defendant" [a crowd favorite found in most DUI arrest reports]. The absence of these other factors may give your Baltimore DUI attorney good fodder to challenge the legality of your arrest. If you're not lawfully arrested, you're not going to be convicted.
The Breathalyzer: There are some different considerations when it comes to the breathalyzer. There, you can't refuse. You do, and lose your license 180 days first offense / 1 year second offense. Moreover, you can't get a restricted license unless you participate in the ignition interlock program. I don't know of any poll, but I would suspect most Baltimore DUI/DWI lawyers would tell you take the breathalyzer. There are some consequences that flow from either choice.
If you take and fail [.08 or more BAC], it's likely going to be easier for the state to convict you, But, if you've refused the field sobriety tests, as I've suggested, your Baltimore DUI attorney can challenge the legality of your arrest, and get the case tossed if successful. Again, if you're not lawfully arrested, you're not going to be convicted, and if you take the mandatory test, you don't face the automatic license penalties. On the other hand, if you refuse the breathalyzer and there are no breathalyzer results, there are no strong visible signals of intoxication, there are no positive field sobriety tests, [because you refused] any film of the roadside encounter is benign [because you were polite and courteous], the state may have a hard time proving its case against you. You do lose your DL for 180 days first offense with no restricted license [unless you do the interlock]. Some Baltimore DUI attorney have suggested that not driving for 6 months, and avoiding the stigma of a DUI, could be the best possible outcome, but, that's a pretty narrow window to fit in. Most Baltimore DUI/DWI lawyers will tell you take the test, and I agree.
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