Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney
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DUI & Criminal Defense Attorney
Frank Benvenuto, P.A.
What should I do if I’m stopped for suspicion of DUI or DWI in MD?
Maryland Law Enforcement is always on the lookout for impaired or intoxicated drivers. They have been trained to watch for the telltale signs that a driver may be “under the influence”. Some of the signals of intoxicated drivers that they look for and the driving traits that you may get you stopped are:
Wide turns. Impaired drivers often make wide turns, for ease of turning or just misjudgment
Abrupt, sudden, and/or illegal turns
Appearing to be drunk. Police may pull over a driver who is slouched to the side or who is hunched over the wheel
A near miss with another vehicle or an object
Weaving in your lane or weaving between lanes
Speeding or slow driving. Most officers in Maryland will give you leeway of 5-7 mph, above or below the speed limit, however any speed above the posted limit is grounds to stop a vehicle
Driving on a surface other than the designated road (shoulder, sidewalk or curb, adjoining property, etc.)
Stopping inappropriately. Stopping at a green light, or otherwise where a stop is not needed
Tailgating. A drunk driver may use the car in front as a guide and follow too closely
Driving on top of the lane marker or straddling center dividing line
Stopping short of or within an intersection
Inappropriate signaling. An impaired driver may drive with a flashing turn signal, may use the wrong turn signal, or may signal far ahead of the turn
Responding slowly to traffic signals or not responding at all
Aggressive driving (Burning rubber, squealing tires, sudden or screeching braking)
Driving without headlights
Driving with hazard lamps on
Inspection infractions are always a good excuse for law enforcement to stop a vehicle. Tail lights, brake lamps, headlamps, direction lamps or tag lights out, obvious exhaust or tire problems, damaged glass, etc. Always keep your car in good repair – don’t give them that excuse!
OK, So what if I get stopped for suspicion of DUI or DWI?
When you’re stopped, there are certain indications that the officer will be looking for in your appearance and manner. Traditional symptoms of intoxication taught at police academies are:
Ruddy or flushed face
Bloodshot, watery, glassy eyes
Odor of alcohol on breath or clothing
General disheveled, unkempt appearance
Swaying, staggering, stumbling or falling while walking
Leaning on or holding onto the car for support
Fumbling for wallet, registration, license
Failure to comprehend the officer’s questions and/or inability to follow direction
Belligerent, confrontational, or otherwise inappropriate behavior
Overly emotional, distraught
What Are My Legal Rights In Maryland If I Am Stopped; & How Should I Act?
First, act appropriately. Be polite, don’t be combative or argumentative. Don’t act paranoid, don’t act sloppy, don’t act jovial or try to be overly friendly or humorous.
You are not required to answer any questions, (such as, “have you been drinking tonight?”) and may politely respond, “I think I’d rather speak with an attorney before answering any questions”. Bear in mind, however, that if you are stone cold sober, you will likely get to leave much sooner by being cooperative.
What About Field Sobriety & Breathalyzer Tests?
You also do NOT have to submit to any field sobriety tests (FSTs). It’s well known that many people have trouble with these tests when completely sober due to physical limitations or because they simply have problems with balance, especially elderly and/or overweight people. Refusal will raise suspicion, but by the time the officer requests the FSTs, (s)he has probably already deemed you impaired.
The breath test is a separate issue. You MAY refuse the breath test, but there are consequences to that decision. In Maryland, refusal to take a breath test will result in the one of the following reprisals
You may be allowed, at your own expense, to install and maintain an alcohol testing interlock device on your vehicle for a period of at least one year
A valid legal defense may reduce or eliminate the above two reprisals. Another reason that a good experienced lawyer is a MUST
ADVICE OF RIGHTS – (Maryland Transportation Article §16-205.1)
You have been stopped or detained and reasonable grounds exist to believe that you have been driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle under circumstances
requiring that you be asked to submit to a test under Maryland Transportation Article §16-205.1. In this situation, the law deems that you have consented to take a test
to measure the alcohol concentration or drug or controlled dangerous substance content in your system. You may refuse to submit to the test(s), unless you were in a
motor vehicle accident resulting in the death of or life-threatening injury to another person.
Suspension of Your Maryland Driver’s License or Driving Privilege:
If you refuse to submit to the test, or if you submit to the test and the result indicates an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more at the time of testing, your Maryland driver’s license shall be confiscated, you will be issued an Order of Suspension and, if eligible, a temporary license valid for 45 days. The following periods of suspension shall be imposed against your license or privilege to drive in Maryland:
If you refuse to submit to a test, your suspension shall be 270 days for a 1st offense and 2 years for a 2nd or subsequent offense.
If your test result is an alcohol concentration of at least 0.08 but less than 0.15, your suspension shall be 180 days. If the offense involves a motor vehicle accident that resulted in the death of another person, your suspension shall be 6 months for a 1st offense and 1 year for a 2nd or subsequent offense.
If your test result is an alcohol concentration of 0.08 but less than 0.15, your suspension may be modified or a restricted license may be issued at a hearing.
If your test result is an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more, your suspension shall be 180 days for a 1st offense and 270 days for a 2nd or subsequent offense. If the offense involves a motor vehicle accident that resulted in the death of another person, your suspension shall be 1 year for a 1st offense and for a 2nd or subsequent offense your license shall be revoked.
If you refuse a test, or take a test with a result of 0.15 or more, you shall be ineligible for modification of your suspension or the issuance of a restricted license, unless you participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program under Maryland Transportation Article §16-404.1.
If you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and were driving a non-commercial motor vehicle when you were stopped, and you refuse to submit to a test, your CDL or privilege shall be disqualified for 1 year for a 1st offense or for life if your CDL or privilege has been previously disqualified for at least 1 year under Maryland Transportation Article §16-812 (a) or (b), a federal law, or any other state’s law.
If you were operating a commercial motor vehicle and your test result indicates an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more, or if you refuse to submit to a test, your commercial driver’s license or privilege shall be disqualified for a period of 1 year for a 1st offense, 3 years for a 1st offense committed while transporting hazardous materials required to be placarded, and disqualified for life if your commercial driver’s license has been previously disqualified for at least 1 year and/or you have incurred 2 offenses of Maryland Transportation Article §16-812 (a) or (b), a federal law, or any substantially similar offense(s) under any other state’s law.
If you are convicted of a drunk or drugged driving offense under Maryland Transportation Article §21-902, and the judge or jury finds beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly refused to take a test of breath arising out of the same circumstances, an additional criminal penalty of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than 2 months, or both, may be imposed under Maryland Transportation Article §27-101 (x).
If you are convicted of a drunk or drugged driving offense under Maryland Transportation Article §21-902 (b) or (c), and the judge or jury
finds beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly refused to take a test of breath arising out of the same circumstances, the Court shall require you, under Maryland Transportation Article §27-107.1, to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program for 1 year pursuant to Maryland Transportation Article §16-404.1.
You may request an Administrative Hearing at any time within 30 days of the date of the Order of Suspension to show cause why your driver’s license or privilege should not be suspended. You must request a hearing within 10 days of the date of the Order of Suspension to ensure that your privilege to drive is not suspended prior to your hearing. Your request for a hearing must be made in writing. You may use the “Hearing Request” form if available. Send your request to the Office of Administrative Hearings at 11101 Gilroy Rd., Hunt Valley, MD 21031-1301. You must include a check or money order for $150.00, which is the required filing fee, made payable to the “Maryland State Treasurer.” Your request for a hearing will be invalid if submitted without the required $150.00 filing fee or applicable fee waiver.
Your driver’s license or privilege will be suspended on the 46th day after the Order of Suspension if you do not request a hearing within 10 days of the
date of the Order of Suspension or, if eligible, you do not elect within 30 days of the Order of Suspension to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program. In order to receive credit for the suspension, you must surrender your driver’s license or certify that you no longer have the license in your possession.
If you submit a valid hearing request, a suspension will not be imposed unless a decision is rendered against you, or if you fail to appear for the hearing.
Instead of requesting a hearing or upon the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, you may elect to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program if the following conditions are met: 1) your driver’s license is not currently suspended, revoked, canceled, or refused; and 2) within 30 days of the date of this Order of Suspension you a) elect in writing to participate in the Ignition Interlock System Program for 1 year if your test resulted in an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more or you refused the test or 6 months if your test resulted in an alcohol concentration of at least 0.08 but less than 0.15; and b) surrender a valid Maryland driver’s license or sign a statement certifying that the license is no longer in your possession. An Ignition Interlock Election form is located on the reverse side of the driver’s copy of the Order of Suspension.
Certification: I, the Undersigned Police Officer, certify under the penalties of perjury, that I have advised the driver of the above stated rights and sanctions and
Certification: I, the Undersigned Police Officer, certify under the penalties of perjury, that I have advised the driver of the above stated rights and sanctions and have provided the driver with the aforementioned advice in:
English and Spanish. Certificación: Yo, el oficial de policía abajo firmante, certifico bajo pena de perjurio que he aconsejado al conductor acerca de sus derechos y sanciones arriba mencionados, y que le he proporcionado la notificación arriba mencionada al conductor en: inglés y español.
Signature of Officer_____________________________________ I.D.No._ ___________________ Police Agency__________________________________
Read before Signing: I, the undersigned driver, acknowledge that I have been read or I have read the above stated Advice of Rights as certified by the police officer. I understand that this requested test is in addition to any preliminary tests that were taken. Leer Antes de Firmar: Yo, el conductor abajo firmante, reconozco que me han leído o he leído la Notificación de Derechos arriba mencionada según lo certifica el oficial de policía. Comprendo que esta prueba solicitada es adicional a cualquier prueba preliminar que se haya realizado.
Having been so advised, do you now agree to submit to a test? (Officer check driver’s reply) Habiendo sido de este modo notificado, está Usted de acuerdo ahora en someterse a la prueba? (Oficial, revise la respuesta del conductor)
❑ Yes - Agree to submit to an alcohol concentration test
❑ Yes - Agree to submit to a test for drug or controlled dangerous substance (CDS) Sí – Acepta someterse a una prueba de concentración Sí – Acepta someterse a una prueba de drogas o sustancias peligrosas controladas (CDS) de alcohol en la sangre
❑ No - Alcohol concentration test, refused
❑ No - Drug or CDS test refused (DRE must complete & submit DRE Certification Form) No – La prueba de concentración de alcohol en la No – La prueba de drogas o CDS ha sido rechazada sangre ha sido rechazada Signature of Driver________________________________ Date__________________ Time________________
DR-015A Control #___________________ Firma del conductor Fecha Hora DR-015 (03-18
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