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What if I refuse a field sobriety test in Maryland

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2022 | DUI/OWI

If you are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence in Maryland, one of the first things the officer will ask you to do is take a field sobriety test. It is important to understand your rights in this situation.

Field sobriety test

A field sobriety test is a physical and mental examination performed on a driver suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This test aims to determine if the driver is impaired and whether they should be arrested.

They include activities such as:

  • Walking in a straight line
  • Standing on one leg
  • Following a moving object with your eyes
  • Reciting the alphabet

Maryland laws when it comes to field sobriety tests

In Maryland, it is entirely up to you whether you want to take a field sobriety test or not. The officer cannot force you to take the test, and if you refuse, they cannot penalize you for it. However, if you do agree to take the test and fail, the officer can use that evidence against you in court.

Consequences of refusing a field sobriety test in Maryland

If you choose to refuse a field sobriety test in Maryland, the officer will likely still arrest you if they have probable cause to believe that you are impaired. Once at the police station, they will administer a chemical breath test that measures your blood alcohol content (BAC). If your BAC is .08% or higher, you will be charged with DUI/OWI.

It makes sense to want to refuse to take a field sobriety test because, even if you are sober, you can fail it for reasons such as nervousness, poor road conditions, wearing high heels, or having a medical condition that might affect you. If you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI, you might decide to politely decline the field sobriety test (that is if you want to) and request a breathalyzer.