Samples Used in Maryland Alcohol and Drug Tests 

The samples used in Maryland alcohol and drug tests are often breath and blood tests. The person can refuse to give a sample of breath or blood on the bottom of Form DR 15 (the Advice of Rights form) where there are boxes for a person to respond yes or no. However, the person will face a harsher penalty from the Maryland Vehicle Administration for refusing these tests.

The backside of a Maryland driver’s license states that driving in Maryland implies consent to chemical testing or intoxication as required by law and that a longer license suspension may result from refusal to be tested. In summary, the State offers a person the choice of whether or not to be tested for drugs or alcohol but penalizes them for any refusal. If you have been charged with a DUI and want to know more about your rights regarding tests, consult a skilled DUI lawyer today.

Penalties for Refusing a Test

A person is going to be penalized no matter how many ways that person twists it if there is alcohol in their system. With regards to a breath test, everyone has a free right to breathe and the breath that comes out of a person’s mouth can be smelled, so there is an odor element to that.

If a person refuses the test, the State can penalize them for that refusal, but the State will not have a breath score, which will be less information for the State to use against them in court.

Blood Tests

Samples used in Maryland alcohol and drug tests can sometimes refer to blood tests. Blood tests examine the substance in their system and the amount that is present in their system, which could leave them impaired. The blood test is not so easy. A person has an absolute right to refuse and cannot be forced either. This is due to a case before the United States Supreme Court with regards to warrantless breath tests and blood tests which ruled that this was beyond the constitutional limits for officers who want to measure the blood alcohol level in persons with regards to drinking and driving.

Legal Precedent for Refusing Blood Testing

With the decision of the court, people had been arrested for drunk driving and were threatened with a criminal penalty if they refused to submit to an alcohol blood test. All of them refused which is why they ended up in the Supreme Court. The arguments were based on the Fourth Amendment which generally prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. The Fourth Amendment is incredibly important because that protects not only the person’s body from being illegally searched but their vehicle as well.

The ruling from the court is that the breath test, being significantly less intrusive than blood tests, serves an interest for law enforcement. The Supreme Court concluded that a breath test, but not a blood test, may be administered as a search incident to a lawful arrest for drunk driving, which still means that the officer would have to establish that there was a phase one, vehicle in motion; a phase two, observation of an individual which is contact with the person; phase three, standard field sobriety test; and then all of those would then be what is called a reasonable, articulable suspicion. Only after those phases had been met could they impose on the person to submit to a breath test.

Warrants for Blood Tests

The court ruling also agreed that blood tests are a significant intrusion of the body, and that was not something that they would allow without a warrant. Warrants can certainly be obtained if they had substantial need to do so, but there are time limits on the testing itself. The warrant requirements, based on the Fourth Amendment, are very important and are based on Birchfield v. North Dakota. That is the most important case, and sometimes when requesting a warrant, they will refer to the Birchfield test with regards to blood being taken with a warrant when it has been refused. If an individual wants to know more about  their rights with regards to blood samples used in Maryland alcohol and drug tests, they should consult a skilled DUI attorney that can help/