Seeing flashing police lights in your mirrors after a night of drinking can be terrifying. Because of this, you may forget how to act appropriately, or what your rights are, when the police ask you to roll down your window.
The CDC reports that Maryland individuals report drinking too much at a higher percentage than the national average. If Maryland police pull you over on suspicion for a driving under the influence, what do you do?
Safely pull over
You do not want to give the police further reason to suspect you for drinking and driving. Carefully pull over to the side of the road, making sure to use your turn signal.
Stay calm and be polite
Undoubtedly, facing a possible arrest may have you feeling nervous and upset. However, letting on that you are flustered may make the officer more suspicious. Making sure to stay calm can be crucial.
Even if you feel that the police had no reason to pull you over, being rude is not your best option. Being polite to the police officer may not influence whether they arrest you or not, but it definitely will not hurt your case.
Use your right to remain silent
It may be wise to answer any questions that the officer asks you directly, such as your name and your proof of insurance. However, you do not have to answer questions that may incriminate yourself. For example, if the officer asks if you have been drinking or what your destination is, you can decline to answer.
You do not have to take the field sobriety tests, but…
When a police officer pulls you over, if they suspect you have been drinking, they will likely ask you to complete various field sobriety tests. You do not need to complete these tests. Some studies even show that these tests are not completely accurate, as it leaves a lot up to the officer’s interpretation.
You do have to submit to chemical testing
Maryland is an implied consent state, which means that refusing chemical testing (breath, blood, urine) may result in severe penalties. For example, your license could be immediately suspended for 120 days, as refusing a breath test can make it look like you are guilty and hiding the fact that you have been drinking.