Key pieces of evidence in a motorcycle DUI case in Maryland include the results of the field sobriety tests and the breathalyzer test. Our DUI attorney discussed standardized field sobriety tests (SFST) in a previous post. Today, we will discuss the breathalyzer test in a drunk driving case, including a motorcycle DUI case.
Do I Have to Take a Breathalyzer After a Motorcycle DUI Stop in Maryland?
Maryland has an implied consent law that applies to all drivers in the state. By driving in Maryland or having a Maryland driver’s license, you consent to the state’s implied consent laws. According to the law, if you are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, it is assumed that you voluntarily consent to a breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol level (BAC). In Maryland, the legal limit for BAC is .08. A breathalyzer test results over the legal limit provides the officer with probable cause to make a DUI arrest. Therefore, why would any rider take a breathalyzer if that could result in a motorcycle DUI arrest?
The Maryland implied consent law is why many riders choose to take a breathalyzer test at a motorcycle DUI stop. Refusing a breathalyzer test in Maryland results in an automatic suspension of your driving privileges for 270 days. A subsequent DUI stop and refusal of a breathalyzer test result in a one-year suspended license.
Remember, this suspension is immediate; therefore, you cannot even drive home from the scene if you were not arrested. The only way you can obtain driving privileges is to request a hearing with the MVA within ten days. Furthermore, if your driving privileges are restored, you will have to agree to an ignition interlock system for your vehicle, which could be costly.
Therefore, many motorcyclists choose to take the breathalyzer because of Maryland’s implied consent law. However, it is up to you to decide based on your situation. A Maryland motorcycle DUI attorney can discuss the implied consent law with you and the repercussions of refusing or taking a breathalyzer if you are pulled over for drunk driving.
Are There Defenses to a Breathalyzer Result After a Motorcycle DUI Arrest?
If you have taken a breathalyzer test and the prosecutor is telling you that you should plead guilty because the test shows you were intoxicated, we urge you to consult with our Maryland motorcycle DUI attorney before doing anything further. There could be several DUI defenses that apply in your case that could impact a verdict, including possible defenses related to the breathalyzer test.
For example, if the officer performing the test was not trained properly or performed the test inaccurately, the results of the test may be challenged. Roadside testing for BAC with a breathalyzer should follow the procedures set by the NHTSA for roadside breathalyzer tests. Our Maryland motorcycle DUI attorneys understand the standards and procedures set by the NHTSA and how to challenge the results based on deviations of the NHTSA standards.
Other reasons why the results from a breathalyzer may be challenged include:
- A high breath test result could be falsely high because of abnormal kidney function or failure;
- The breathalyzer was not calibrated properly, causing a bad result;
- The result was a false positive because the breathalyzer was conducted before your body had absorbed the alcohol;
- The breathalyzer unit was an older unit. Older units can lead to false results for several reasons, including misreading ethyl alcohol and acetone;
- A false positive was generated because the person suffered a medical condition that the officer did not consider when performing the test or reading the results; and,
- The breathalyzer was measuring mouth alcohol instead of the alcohol in your lungs, which results in a much higher BAC reading. Mouth alcohol can be caused by several reasons other than recent drinking, including the use of mouthwash, burping, and acid reflux.
The above factors are only some of the reasons why you might want to challenge the results of a breathalyzer test. An experienced Maryland DUI lawyer can review all the factors and circumstances surrounding your motorcycle DUI arrest to determine the best defense strategy to use as you fight the charges. In some cases, arguing that the breathalyzer results should be thrown out for one of the above reasons or other reason may result in a dismissal of the DUI charges if the prosecution does not have any other solid evidence you were impaired while driving a motorcycle.
Motorcycle DUI Attorneys in Annapolis, Baltimore, Parkville and Bel Air, Maryland
Our motorcycle DUI lawyers represent clients throughout Maryland who are facing drunk driving charges. Because we understand the procedures and rules for field sobriety tests and breathalyzers, we can investigate your DUI stop thoroughly to determine if your rights were violated. It is our goal to identify all potential defenses to your drunk driving charges to help mitigate the consequences for your future.
Contact Pinder Plotkin, LLC at 410-661-9440 to speak with an experienced motorcycle DUI attorney about your case.