Virtually everyone in Maryland knows that accidents happen for a wide variety of reasons. Often, it is assumed that the driver responsible must have done something wrong in order to lose control of his or her automobile. On many occasions, that is true. However, just because someone has been accused of DUI does not necessarily mean that the driver was driving while intoxicated.
On Jan. 24, 2014, we brought you the story of a case appealed by the Motor Vehicle Administration ("Maryland appeals court to hear case re blood alcohol content test"). A woman insisted on contacting a friend before giving her consent to a blood alcohol content test when she was pulled over for driving under the influence. As it turns out, her friend was an attorney.
At present, no right exists for suspected drunk drivers to consult with an attorney prior to consenting to a blood alcohol content test. A lower court judge ruled that a woman pulled over in 2012 should have been allowed to call a friend, who was also an attorney, prior to giving her consent to a breath test. The Maryland Vehicle Administration appealed the ruling, and now the Maryland Court of Appeals will decide whether an individual who has indicated a desire to do so should be allowed to contact an attorney, if one is available to him or her, before making the decision whether to submit to a test to determine blood alcohol content.
One of the biggest challenges with tests used to determine if a person will be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol is the subjectivity of field sobriety tests and potential for inaccurate Breathalyzer tests. This is true whether someone is arrested here in Annapolis, or anywhere else across the country.
Each day, thousands of drivers are pulled over by police officers. If the police officer suspects the driver has been driving while intoxicated, he may ask the pulled over motorist to perform a field sobriety test. If the officer believes the person has not passed the field sobriety test, he may ask for a breathalyzer test.
For people in Maryland who have refused a breath test when they have been stopped on suspicion of DUI or DWI, a story developing in another state could provide a rationale for why not giving consent for a breath test to be administered without an attorney present might be a good idea.