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DWI Suspects Must Submit to Both Drug and Alcohol Tests if Requested

It’s well established that by operating a vehicle on Maryland roads, drivers give their implied consent to a test to determine if they are unlawfully impaired by alcohol or drugs. Refusing such a test is punishable by an automatic driver’s license suspension. In a recent case, the Maryland Court of Appeals reviewed whether the doctrine of implied consent entitles law enforcement to take a second test for drugs if an alcohol test indicates no unlawful impairment.

In Motor Vehicle Admin. v. Gonce, the court upheld the license suspension of a man based on his refusal to take a second test for drug use after a previous test showed no presence of alcohol. Mr. Gonce had submitted to the alcohol-concentration test after results of a field sobriety test were mixed. In its opinion, the court held that the duty to take a sobriety test can include separate tests for alcohol and drugs. Law enforcement officers are not required to choose between the tests. 

Even if an arrest has not been made, you can be required to take a breathalyzer or blood test to detect the presence of alcohol or drugs. A first refusal results in an automatic 120-day license suspension. Any refusal after that means a loss of driving privileges for one year. You have only 10 days to appeal a suspension based on test refusal. If you have lost your license due to a refused test or are facing a drunk driving charge, contact an experienced Maryland DWI lawyer at Mudd, Mudd & Fitzgerald, P.A. in La Plata.

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