The Use of a Portable Breath Test in a Maryland DUI Prosecution

Can Prosecutors Introduce the Results as Evidence to Obtain a Conviction?

The Use of a Portable Breath Test in a Maryland DUI ProsecutionWhen you have been pulled over by law enforcement officers, one of the first questions you’ll often be asked is “have you been drinking”? Regardless of how you answer, the police officer may ask you to submit to a roadside blood alcohol test. Typically, they’ll tell you that the results are not admissible in court, so there’s no risk in taking the test. Is this true? Can you refuse to take the test?

While it is technically true that the results of a roadside BAC test are not admissible in court, voluntarily giving one can be a bad idea. Why? Because a police officer must have probable causes to detain or arrest you for drinking and driving. In many instances, the officer will have to make that decision based on circumstantial evidence—it’s rare that the officer will actually see you drinking while you are driving. Accordingly, if you voluntarily take the test, the officer can use it as part of the decision-making process, and may subsequently arrest you. You may then be brought back to the police station, where you will be required to submit to a BAC test that may be admitted in court.

You are under no obligation to take a roadside BAC test, and the officer cannot use your refusal as a reason to arrest you or make you submit to any subsequent test. The officer must make that decision based on other observations of your behavior.

Effective Maryland DUI/DWI Defense Lawyer

For more than 30 years, attorney Jonathan Scott Smith has repeatedly obtained positive results for criminal defendants in Baltimore and across the state of Maryland, including many individuals who have been charged with drinking and driving. SuperLawyers places him among the top 100 lawyers in Maryland and The American Lawyer Magazine has named him a Top-Rated Lawyer.

Jonathan’s colleagues in the legal profession have given him an AV-rating (the highest possible) under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System every year since 1988. He has also been the recipient of Martindale-Hubbell’s coveted Client Distinction Award, an honor earned by less than 4% of all attorneys listed there. He enjoys a 10.0 (Superb rating) as a trial lawyer from AVVO and has also earned AVVO’s the Client’s Choice Award, with an average client review of 5 stars.

A proven trial attorney, Jonathan has long been highly regarded by clients and colleagues for his extensive knowledge of criminal law and procedure, as well as his skill and experience successfully handling a wide range of criminal matters. He will carefully gather and preserve evidence, and can quickly verify that law enforcement officers have followed constitutional procedures.

Proven Criminal Defense Lawyer in the Greater Baltimore Area

At the law offices of Jonathan Scott Smith, we fight for the rights of criminal defendants throughout Baltimore County and the surrounding communities. Contact us online or call 410-740-0101 to arrange a meeting. We handle cases throughout Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland.

DUI in Maryland

Administrative Penalties for Drinking and Driving

DUI in Maryland In Maryland, when you’re arrested for driving under the influence, you can expect two separate and distinct legal proceedings to take place:

  • Criminal proceeding — You’ll be required to appear before a judge in a criminal proceeding, where your guilt or innocence will be determined. If found guilty, you can be sentenced to jail time or assessed fines, among other sanctions.
  • Administrative hearing — You also will need to appear at an administrative hearing before the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA)

The Purpose of the Administrative Hearing | The Potential Penalties

The administrative hearing focuses on your right to drive. In the immediate aftermath of a DUI arrest, your license will be confiscated, and you will be issued a temporary Maryland driver’s license that expires in 45 days. If you fail to request the administrative hearing within 10 days of your citation, your license will be suspended.

If you are found to have violated Maryland DUI law, you can expect a 45-day suspension of your license, provided it’s your first DUI conviction. A second DUI conviction will bring a 90-day suspension. First-offense suspensions can be modified to allow you to drive to and from work, but second-conviction suspensions may not be modified.

Experienced Maryland Drunk Driving Attorney

Jonathan Scott Smith, a longtime Maryland SuperLawyer, has aggressively represented criminal defendants in the greater Baltimore area and across Maryland for more than 30 years, including people charged with driving under the influence. AV-rated by his fellow attorneys under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System, Jonathan has also been honored as a Top-Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer magazine. He’s received AVVO’s Client’s Choice Award, with the highest rating possible (5 stars), as well as a 10.0 (Superb) rating from AVVO as a trial attorney.

Attorney Scott Smith knows the potential impact of a DUI conviction and will work hard to ensure that police followed all required procedures. He will confirm that there was probable cause for any search and seizure and that you were properly notified of your Miranda rights if taken into custody

Effective DUI Defense Attorney in the Greater Baltimore Metro Area

To schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your options when charged with drinking and driving, contact attorney Jonathan Scott Smith online or call 410-740-0101 to set up an appointment. Attorney Smith handles DWI and DUI cases throughout the Baltimore and the surrounding area, including Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County.

Why You Need an Attorney for a Maryland MVA Hearing

Experienced Counsel Can Help Protect Your Rights

Why You Need an Attorney for a Maryland MVA HearingWhen you’re arrested and charged with drinking and driving in Maryland, you face two legal proceedings—the criminal prosecution to determine guilt and establish penalties, and the administrative proceeding with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), which determines the status of your driving privileges.

You may be inclined to go to the MVA hearing without legal counsel, but that would be a mistake. Though some of the issues addressed at the hearing are straightforward, you may have legal questions that need to be resolved, and you can’t expect guidance from the administrative law judge who conducts the hearing. Furthermore, hiring legal counsel to represent you sends a positive message to the judge, indicating that you take the proceeding seriously and that your driving privileges are important to you.

An experienced DUI defense lawyer will know how to work with the judge to get you the best outcome and is likely to help you minimize the financial costs of the offense.

Experienced Baltimore County DUI Defense Attorney

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith has aggressively protected the rights of people across the Baltimore area and throughout Maryland for almost 40 years, including people charged with drunk driving. He has consistently been AV-rated (the highest possible) by other attorneys under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System and has been named a Top-Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer magazine, as well as a Maryland SuperLawyer. Smith has earned the prestigious Client’s Choice Award from AVVO, with a 5-star average rating (the highest possible) for all his client reviews. He also has a perfect 10.0 (Superb) rating as a litigator from AVVO.

Smith follows a comprehensive approach to criminal defense, taking the time to review police records and interview all prospective witnesses in order to present the strongest arguments for acquittal. He will be at your side throughout a criminal prosecution, from investigation to arraignment to trial. He brings extensive trial experience to every case he handles and is always willing and able to protect your rights before a judge and jury.

Proven Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer

Contact Maryland criminal defense attorney Jonathan Scott Smith online or call 410-740-0101 to set up an appointment. Our firm handles DUI cases in Howard County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland.


  • Jonathan Scott Smith 10490 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 200 ,Columbia, MD 21044-4960

  • Call for consultation 410-740-0101