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No attorney needed to take breath test during DWI stop

Your right to contact an attorney is taking a back seat to intoxication testing, according to the Maryland Court of Appeals. The court recently heard the case of a woman who was pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving. Her driver's license was suspended, because she refused to take a breath test to measure her blood alcohol level until after she spoke to her friend, who happens to be an attorney.

The court ruled that people who are pulled over because it is suspected that they are driving under the influence must submit to a blood alcohol test without speaking to an attorney. The Motor Vehicle Administration had voiced concerns that allowing people who are stopped to demand an attorney might hold up the drunk driver testing long past the two hour window that the test is accurate.

A driver who declines to take a breath test or fails the test has a driver's license suspension go into effect. The woman at the heart of this case will now have to deal with her suspension.

It is important to note that the ruling in this instance has to do only with breath tests dealing with the MVA. Criminal cases and traffic court aren't affected by the ruling.

Anyone who is pulled over for drunk driving should make sure they understand their rights at every step of the process they go through. Knowing what to expect might help to make the procedures a little easier and a lot less stressful, even if you can't contact your attorney before taking the applicable tests.

Source: DelmarvaNow, "Court of Appeals rules in favor of MVA in Somerset case" Vanessa Junkin, May. 29, 2014

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