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Implied Consent Law in Maryland

Anyone who drives or attempts to drive a car on a highway or on any private property used by the public in Maryland is deemed to have consented to take a test if the person is ever stopped on suspicion of DUI/DWI. (§ 16-205.1). In other words if you’re driving, you are automatically giving your consent to submit to a blood alcohol or breath test if you are suspected of violating DUI/DWI laws.

Regardless of whether a driver submits to a breath alcohol test in the field after being stopped, a driver will eventually be asked to perform another breath alcohol test at the police station. Refusing to take the initial breath alcohol test (field test or preliminary test) is not admissible at trial. However, a driver who refuses to take the breath alcohol test at the police station will face consequences. The implied consent law pertains to this situation.

Maryland’s implied consent law requires that a driver agrees to submit to a blood or breath chemical test if an officer has reasonable cause to believe the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. (See § 16-205.1(b)(1)). Refusing to submit to such a test may lead to suspension of a person’s driver’s license for 120 days for the first refusal, and an automatic one year suspension for the 2nd refusal.

A driver operating a commercial motor vehicle who refuses to submit to an breath or blood alcohol test will face a license disqualification for one year. A commercial driver will face three years for a first offense if he is transporting hazardous materials. A commercial driver’s license will be disqualified for life if the driver’s commercial driver’s license has previously been suspended for at least one year for DUI/DWI or other various laws. (Section 16-205.1).

Maryland’s implied consent law is often referred to as an express consent statute because a person must give consent in order to be tested. 3A  M.L.E. Automobiles and Motor Vehicles § 86.

Maryland law provides that a breath alcohol test must be conducted within two hours of apprehension of the driver suspected of DUI/DWI. The implied-consent statute provides that when a driver refuses to submit to the breath alcohol test, the issue of timing may not be used as a defense. Whether the test was performed within the required two hours of apprehension may not be raised or used in one’s defense to a DUI/DWI. Motor Vehicle Administration v. Jones, 844 A.2d 388 (2004). Additionally, it appears that a driver may not raise the timing defense in blood tests for drugs either.

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