Stopped By Police
You are driving your vehicle on the highway after consuming alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs. The police officer detained you on suspension of driving or attempting to drive while being impaired or under the influence of alcohol or because of the combination of alcohol and drugs.
If the police officer had reasonable grounds to believe that you had been driving or attempting to drive your vehicle either on any private property used by the public or on a highway in the State of Maryland, then you can be detained.
If an officer believes the above, there are many reasonable grounds upon which he/she can stop you, including but not limited to speeding, erratic driving, swerving, driving without your headlights when it is dark, changing a lane when it is unsafe or without using a directional signal, failing to yield the right-of-way resulting in an accident caused by your negligence, reckless driving, failing to stay within a marked lane, and going into the shoulder of the roadway.
After the stop, there may be facts or events that permit the officer to believe, based on a suspicion of driving or attempting to drive while being impaired or under the influence of alcohol or a combination of alcohol and drugs. Examples of events occurring after the stop could be a moderate or greater odor of alcohol, slurred words by the driver, or the driver exiting the vehicle with difficulty walking.
You need to cooperate with the police officer upon a stop even though there are requests by the police officer that you do not have to follow. Examples of reasonable requirements that are requested by the police officer are:
- Providing the officer with your license and registration;
- Performing field sobriety tests, including walking heel to toe, one leg stand, the nystagmus test and possibly others.
Examples of requests by the police to which you should not respond are:
- Describing whether and how much you ingested of drugs, alcohol, or any combination. Do not admit consuming any of these;
- Your previous and/or current driving record whether it be in Maryland or any other state; and
- Agreeing to take a preliminary breath test. The State may not introduce as evidence or make any reference to the preliminary breath test. The preliminary breath test is given where and when you were stopped. However, you must distinguish between the preliminary breath test and the breathalyzer test at the police station.
At the police station you are given and you are read what are called Advice of Rights. Depending on your physical and mental condition as a consequence of alcohol and/or drugs, it may be difficult for you to understand and to be informed of the rights that you have regarding taking or not taking the breathalyzer test at the police station.
You do have the right to consult with a lawyer. Our office is open beyond the normal 5 PM, the typical closing time. Calling after 5 PM may result in you not being able to speak with me as your lawyer but I recommend you try. You have up to two hours from the time of the arrest to agree to take the breathalyzer at the police station. Many times the police will remove your personal items, including a wristwatch. You also have the right to initially refuse to take the breathalyzer and then to change your mind and take it. Be very careful as there are additional conditions that are special conditions and you have up to two hours from the time of the arrest to take the breathalyzer. However, if you're in a holding cell, you may not get the attention of the arresting officer or other police personnel in order to take the test within the 2-hour requirement. The arresting officer may be the only officer on duty and the officer needs to leave the police station.
There are many rules and regulations affecting individuals who are detained. One of the most important is to request an administrative hearing within 10 days of your arrest. By doing so there is the potential of your receiving an uninterrupted driving privilege. This is not true under all circumstances. However, you need to immediately check with our office so we can seek to protect your rights. By not seeing a lawyer immediately, your driving privilege may be interrupted and your license suspended or revoked.
It is very difficult to make an informed decision because many of the substances that you had ingested may affect your judgment. It is best that you take advantage of your right to call a lawyer. Call us at 410-730-4404. You may want to keep the above materials in your glove box so that you can refer to the content if necessary. The above is a small description of some of your rights.
Fred Antenberg has over 30 years’ of successful experience in the above areas assisting clients in Howard County, Maryland, and the surrounding counties of Central Maryland and Baltimore City. Previous success is not a guarantee of future success, however.
Call Fred today at 410 730 4404 to schedule a free initial consultation.