People are only humans and humans make mistakes. When some people get caught in the midst of a serious mistake, their first inclination might be to contact an attorney to determine how to get out of the mess they are in. Sadly, for some Maryland residents, being able to contact an attorney isn’t allowed any longer before submitting to a blood-alcohol test that could lead to a drunk driving arrest.
The Maryland Court of Appeals found that when a person gets pulled over because they are suspected of driving under the influence, they don’t have the right to contact an attorney before consenting to take the test.
This blow to the rights of people to consult with an attorney comes because of concern by the Motor Vehicle Administration. The MVA is worried that having the right to contact an attorney might mean that a blood-alcohol level exam won’t always be able to be done within the two hour window that is necessary for the most accurate results.
The case went before the appeals court because a woman’s driver’s license was suspended for failing to take a blood-alcohol test prior to speaking to her friend who happened to be an attorney. The court found that woman didn’t have the right to speak to an attorney prior to taking the test.
This case shows how far things are going away from the rights of people being charged with a crime to contact an attorney prior to questioning. If someone has questions about the test, they can’t answer without risking having their driving privileges revoked. Knowing your rights prior to being stopped by police is necessary to ensure that those rights aren’t violated.
Source: WBALTV 11, “Md. high court rules on DUI rights prior to BAC testing” Katie Lange, May. 22, 2014