If you find yourself arrested under suspicion of violating Maryland DUI laws, there are many procedures that police officers throughout the state are supposed to follow. Generally, here is the broad strokes of them:
- Ask for your license and registration.
- Ask you to perform SFST’s (Standardized Field Sobriety Tests) – see here, here, & here for more information.
- Assuming you do not perform well on SFST’s, they will place you under arrest and take you to the police precinct or district.
- Once at the district, they “read you your rights” pursuant to the MVA form DR-15.
- After having been read your DR-15 rights, you should be given an opportunity to consider your options.
- If you either decide to “blow or not blow”you will be charged either by citation or arrest (if you have a ride home, usually citation).
The DR-15 Rights should not be confused with Miranda rights. When you’re arrested under suspicion of a Maryland DUI, you have a right to a lawyer, just not in the same fashion as Miranda (you don’t get one next to you and if you insist on waiting for one, you could end up with a refusal penalty for your Maryland DUI).
Maryland DUI: What is the DR-15?
The DR-15 form is a long document with tiny, tiny font; which of course makes it that much more difficult to read if you are under the influence (or need reading glasses). It outlines the rights that you have and the possible penalties you could face, depending on the results of the chemical test (if any).
Maryland DUI: What do I need to know if I’m trying to read one?
You don’t need to understand or even comprehend the DR-15, rather the only thing you need to know is that the office MUST read it to you prior to you signing and agreeing to submit to any chemical test. You can and should ask to speak to a ENlawyer. And of course, if you have been reading ENlawyers, you know that deciding “to blow or not to blow” is a very fact based question that isn’t as simple as some people would have you believe. In our experience, officers often ask the person if they want to take the breath (or blood) test, have them take it, then read and have the now charged person sign the DR-15. See generally McAvoy v. State, 314 Md. 509 (1989) & Md. Transp. Art. Sec. 16-205.1. Obviously it would be impractical and unwise to
argue with the office if he/she decides to do things in a different order, but please inform your Maryland lawyer, because failure to follow procedures in a Maryland DUI could cause the breath test to be thrown out of court and will also prohibit the MVA from taking administrative sanctions against you.
Maryland DUI: the bottom line
If you find yourself late one night trying to read the tiny font of the DR-15 form, don’t take any chances and call your favorite ENlawyers as soon as possible.