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Maryland DUI Law: Can You Refuse a Breathalyzer?

A breathalyzer is a component of the field sobriety test, which is used by law enforcement to assess the sobriety of a motorist after he or she has been pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. In Maryland, you can refuse to use a breathalyzer. However, there are penalties for doing so, and you can still be detained even if you refuse. Learn more in our blog.


Can you refuse to take a breathalyzer test in Maryland?

Maryland DUI Law: Breathalyzer


Preliminary Breath Test vs. Police Station Test

If you are stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence, the police officer may ask you to blow into a breathalyzer. This roadside test is called a preliminary breath test. You have the right to refuse to take this test. You cannot have your license suspended for refusing the preliminary test. If you do so, however, you can still be detained and brought to the police station.

At the police station, you will be asked to submit to a blood, breath or urine test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). You have the right to refuse the test.

What happens if I refuse the breathalyzer?

If you refuse to submit to testing, your license will automatically be suspended for 120 days (if this is your first refusal). If this were your second or third offense, a refusal would carry an automatic suspension of one year.

You will be given a temporary license that is good for 45 days. If you want to challenge your suspension, you must request a hearing within 10 days. In addition, if this is your first offense and you were not involved in an accident, you may request to drive on a restricted license for one year, during which time you will have to use an ignition interlock device to start your vehicle. This is essentially a breathalyzer that you blow into before you start your vehicle. The vehicle will not start if you have alcohol in your blood.

Is there any situation in which I cannot refuse a breathalyzer in Maryland?

The only situation in which you cannot refuse a breathalyzer in Maryland is if you were involved in an accident that caused serious injury or death. In this case, an officer can compel you to take a breathalyzer.


Bruce Robinson & Associates is a criminal defense law firm based in Baltimore, MD. If you have been accused of criminal actions and need to seek aggressive counsel, Robinson & Associates is here to help. For more information and to schedule your free consultation, give Robinson & Associates a call at 443-524-7395 or visit us at You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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