We get this question a lot, because there’s actually a lot of misinformation out there on this subject. People think that because they have the right to refuse the test, that they’re making a good choice for their case, because the cops will have less evidence to take to court. In truth, that assumption is only half true (and it’s not the half you think it is!) In Michigan, you DO have the right to refuse to submit to the roadside test, but it’s NOT always a good thing for your case, and the cops aren’t necessarily going to end up with less evidence than they need. Confused? Don’t worry – we’ll break this down for you.
There are actually two BAC tests in Michigan!
Did you know, there are actually two tests that the police can administer after you get pulled over for suspected drunk driving in Michigan. One is the roadside test, which is called a PBT (short for Preliminary Breath Test.) The second test is done at the police station or jail, and it’s a breath test done with a Datamaster machine. Although you have the right to refuse to take the roadside PBT test and you can refuse to do the roadside field sobriety tests, you have given your implied consent to take the DataMaster test at the police station / jail.
What happens when you refuse a roadside breath test in Michigan?
Refusing the roadside breath test (PBT) means that you’re preventing the officer from collecting evidence that could justify an arrest. However, the officer can still arrest you anyway based on other signs of suspected intoxication, like weaving in and out of your lane, slurred speech, and smelling strongly of alcohol. So refusing the test doesn’t mean you won’t be arrested. Also, if you refuse the roadside test, you’re committing just a civil infraction. This means you’ll be fined $150, plus you’ll have to pay other associated court costs. You will not have any points placed on your license and this is not a criminal charge.
What about refusing the Datamaster test at the police station?
This one is a much bigger deal. Once the officer gets you back to the police station, they’re going to want to do a Datamaster test, which is more accurate than the handheld device they use roadside, and is also admissible in court as evidence. Again, you do not have the right to refuse this test, and if you refuse it, the consequences are far more serious! If you decide not to submit to this test, your driver’s license will be suspended for up to two years, plus you’ll have six points assigned to your driving record. If that happens, you’ll be ineligible for a restricted license, which may be the only way you can get to and from work after your arrest.
Refusing the BAC can cost you big time, even if you’re not drunk or drugged.
We understand that in most cases, by the time you call us the roadside test is over. It either happened, or it didn’t, because you either consented, or you didn’t. So calling us won’t change the results of your choice. However, calling us can make a difference to your DUI case in many other ways. So if you’ve been arrested for drunk driving in Michigan, and you need legal help from an experienced DUI defense attorney who is available 24/7 and has a long track record of success, call 866 766 5245. We’re here for you.