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  • 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:

  • Your Appearance

    • Ruddy or flushed face

    • Bloodshot, watery, glassy eyes

    • Odor of alcohol on breath or clothing

    • Slurred speech

    • General disheveled, unkempt appearance

  • Your Coordination

    • Swaying, staggering, stumbling or falling while walking

    • Leaning on or holding onto the car for support

    • Fumbling for wallet, registration, license

  • Attitude

    • Failure to comprehend the officer’s questions and/or inability to follow direction

    • Disoriented, confused

    • 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.

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