So You Refused the Breathalyzer - What do You Do Next?
You need to meet with me right away because you must make a request for a hearing to challenge the officer’s suspicion (a reasonable belief ). The officer’s position must be challenged, that is that you had been drinking and driving and that you were properly advised of your rights and of the consequences of not taking the breath test. You must see us right away so that we obtain your understanding of what actually occurred.
We need to determine if there is a basis to challenge the officer’s allegations. We must direct a written challenge and that must be mailed within 10 days of your arrest in order to maintain your temporary license without interruption of your driving privilege. You have the right to challenge the officer’s position and the challenge must be made no later than 30 days from your arrest. If the request is made in writing, including the proper form , ( The form is Page Two of your temporary license) and the payment of $150 is made more than 30 days from the date of the arrest, the request can and usually is denied unless, for example, you were in the hospital or have some other justifiable reason.
Many individuals, because they were arrested and humiliated from the arrest, often do not read the documents. There are many documents that you were given including but not limited to: Citations, Advice of Rights, Temporary License, Request for a Hearing, Court Commissioner’s meeting , need to report within ten days to the Court Commissioner, Notice of Right to meet with a lawyer and be represented at trial. Sometimes the individual has a difficult time reading and understanding what these documents mean. The worst mistakes are not requesting the Administrative Hearing within the time requirements and not understanding that there are two events that will occur i.e. an Administrative Hearing under the Implied Consent Law (see below) and a district court trial for the alcohol misdemeanors.
In Maryland we have what is called the ‘’ Implied Consent Law ‘’ under which, if an officer suspects that you were drinking and driving, you have agreed as a condition of receiving a driver’s license to the following: that if you do not agree to take the breath test, you are subject to certain sanctions ( loss of your driving privilege for months and, for second refusals, for a year as well not qualifying to obtain a restricted license for, as example, to drive to and from work or to drive in the course of your employment, among other purposes. You have the right to participate in the Interlock system. This program is for one year and you must have an interlock device placed on all vehicles that you use. There are costs to equip your vehicle with the system and also a monthly fee for its use. In order to start your vehicle, you must forcefully blow into the equipment called the interlock. Some people with respiratory problems need to see a lung (pulmonary) physician to obtain the physician’s opinion and in writing that you need to have the interlock equipment modified so that your breath registers properly. Otherwise you are violating the requirements of the interlock program.
Here are some of the of ways to challenge the officer’s allegations:
- There was not a basis for your being stopped;
- The officer’s statement of probable cause is opposite from other reasons in a written document, or a recorded verbal statement is inconsistent with other written records;
- You speak a language other than English and there was no interpreter available in order for you to understand what was being asked of you and to be informed of your rights;
- You were not properly advised of your rights;
- The officer made other allegations that are inconsistent with what occurred at the scene of the stop.
- The officer had you perform Field Sobriety Tests under conditions that made the tests unfair and unreasonable.
The above are only a few of the many ways to challenge the officer.
The requirements of the Implied Consent Law enable lawyers to successfully challenge these cases. We cannot guarantee success but it is difficult for officers to do all that is required. I should defend you against the penalties that may occur, either at the hearing under Implied Consent cases or at district court citation cases as there are permanent records for both types of cases.
Proper representation is important.
Fred Antenberg has over 30 years’ experience in representing defendants and licensees in Howard County and the surrounding counties in Central Maryland. His office is located in Columbia, Maryland. The administrative law judges travel the entire state of Maryland.
Call Fred for a free consultation at the following number -- 410 730 4404.