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Traffic Cases in Maryland


Traffic cases in Maryland typically are either payable citations (like a speeding ticket) or require a court appearance if they carry the possibility of jail time. If you are pulled over by an officer and given a citation, you want to contact an attorney PRIOR to paying any citations or requesting a court date. 

A guilty finding, which includes payment of a ticket, can add points to your license and result in consequences with the Maryland Vehicle Administration (MVA). 

If you are charged with the following traffic charges, you could still face the possibility of jail time and enough points on your drivers license to result in a suspension or additional collateral consequences: 

  • Driving on a Suspended License
  • Driving on a Revoked License
  • Driving without Insurance 
  • Fleeing and Eluding
  • Failing to Remain at the Scene of an Accident (with or without property damage)
  • Driving Without a Valid Drivers License


Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) are all ways to describe the same thing: intoxicated driving. Intoxication may be the result of alcohol or another chemical substance (e.g., marijuana) or both. To be a criminal offense in Maryland, your blood alcohol content must be at or above the legal limit, you have an illegal chemical substance in your system, or your driving abilities were otherwise impaired.

In Maryland, there are many arrests made daily for intoxicated driving. Those arrested are often people like you and me: law-abiding citizens. At Safe Harbor Criminal Defense, our DUI/DWI defense lawyer works hard to help you get the best possible outcome when charged with intoxicated driving. Contact us at 240-200-4077 to learn more about how we will help you. In the meantime, here are some of the most commonly asked questions we get from our clients when we first meet them about their intoxicated driving charge.

What is “blood alcohol content” level?

Blood alcohol content (BAC) is a measurement of the amount of alcohol found in the blood expressed as a percentage. It is calculated in grams per 210 liters of breath, and a BAC of 0.08 means there is 0.08% alcohol by volume. Measuring BAC is a way for law enforcement to calculate the amount of alcohol someone has had and their ability to drive a motor vehicle. 

What are my rights during DUI/DWI traffic stops?

If you are pulled over due to suspicion of drunk driving or pulled over for a traffic stop and then the police officer suspects intoxicated driving, you should remember you have certain rights as a U.S. citizen. Namely,

  1. The driver and any passengers have the right to remain silent (except you must show the police your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance upon request); and
  2. If you are a passenger, you are free to leave.

If you are arrested or detained, you have additional rights, including Miranda warnings.

  1. You can say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately.
  2. You have the right to make a local phone call.

If you believe your rights were violated in any way, try to write down everything you remember, including the police officer's agency (state police, county police, etc.), badge number, and patrol car number.

Can I refuse a breathalyzer test in Maryland?

Once an officer places you under arrest for suspected intoxicated driving, you will be offered a chemical breath test. Prior to giving you the breath test, the officer will read or play a recording of the DR-15, and likely give you a written copy. The form explains the penalties for refusing a test in the state of Maryland. Regardless - you can refuse a breathalyzer test. 

Refusal, however, carries with it significant consequences. In Maryland, if you refuse to submit to the chemical breath test, you may face the following penalties: 

  • An administrative license suspension
  • A request by the prosecution for additional jail time or refusal charges
  • You may still face a DUI/DWI charge based on other criteria, such as field sobriety test results, witness testimony, and the police officer's observations.

Also, if you refuse, the police officer may request a warrant to take a blood sample. Blood tests are more reliable than breath tests, and they can be more challenging to defend against if a case is filed against you. You may also still be arrested for driving under the influence based on other factors, including the standardized field sobriety tests. 

What are standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs)?

Standardized field sobriety tests (FSTs) are tests approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These tests are allegedly designed to help police determine whether a driver is intoxicated or not.

There are three standardized FSTs:

  1. the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN test)
  2. the One-Leg Stand Test (OLS test)
  3. the Walk-and-Turn Test

The results of these tests may be used as evidence against you in an intoxicated driving case. Non-standardized tests, on the other hand, are not validated by NHTSA and are typically not admissible as evidence.

Non-standardized FSTs include:

  • finger to nose test
  • the finger count test
  • the hand pat test
  • the alphabet test
  • the reverse counting test
  • the coin pickup test

Can I refuse field sobriety tests in Maryland? 

Yes. You may refuse to complete the Field Sobriety Tests. If you choose to decline the tests, be polite and do not become verbally or physically abusive with the office or resist arrest, as it will just increase the number of potential charges you could face. 

The field sobriety tests are based on the officer's subjective interpretations and observations and thus are not the objective indicators of impairment they claim to be. If you have existing medical conditions, it may be in your best interest to politely decline the tests. 

After a DUI/DWI arrest in Maryland, will my driver's license be suspended or revoked?

There are two different types of suspensions. The first is an administrative suspension, and Maryland will suspend your license if you refuse a breathalyzer or have a BAC over a certain level. This means you can lose your driving privileges even when you have not been found guilty of driving while intoxicated or under the influence of a chemical substance.

The other type of suspension occurs when you are convicted of an intoxicated driving offense. Depending on the charge, a conviction for intoxicated driving could carry between 8-12 points, which is enough to suspend your license for up to two years. 

What happens after a drunk driving arrest in Maryland?

If you are arrested for drunk driving, what happens next depends on the facts and circumstances. It's important to know that DUI/DWI arrests result in two processes after an arrest: (1) the administrative hearing at the MVA, which results in civil penalties, like driver's license suspension; and (2) the criminal process, which can result in a conviction in the absence of a strong DUI/DWI defense. A conviction can lead to fines, driver's license suspension/revocation, imprisonment, ignition interlock device (IID) installation, and other penalties.

Can I still get auto insurance in Maryland after a drunk driving conviction?

Your ability to obtain or maintain auto insurance after a drunk driving conviction depends on whether it was your first conviction. You will likely find insurance after a first conviction, although your rates will increase significantly. 

Note, however, that even if you have been convicted of only one drunk driving offense, you may still be required to obtain SR-22 insurance. SR-22 is a certificate of financial responsibility required by either your jurisdiction or a court order. This form is not insurance, but rather proof that your auto insurance policy meets the minimum liability coverage required by state law. A fee, which ranges from $300 to $800 on average, is most often charged to file this form.

Contact a DUI/DWI Defense Attorney in Maryland Today

At Safe Harbor Criminal Defense , we know the law and the technical, scientific make-up of field sobriety tests, blood tests, breath tests, and urine tests. We also know how to identify and proactively address any constitutional rights violations to benefit your case. Contact us today at 240-200-4077 to schedule a Free 30 minute consultation and get honest advice on your best legal options.

Contact Us Today

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