Welcome back and thanks for joining us at The Kronzek Firm again. We’ve been talking about implied consent in Michigan, and what it means when you get pulled over by the police for drunk driving. As we explained in the previous article, if you’re driving on a road in Michigan, it means you’ve already consented to a BAC test. The BAC test is the test that determines how much alcohol you have in your system. That’s the key factor when the prosecutor decides whether or not to charge you with drunk driving in violation of Michigan’s law.
Yup, that’s right. As soon as you pull out onto the street in a vehicle, you’ve pretty much agreed to submit to BAC testing if a cop thinks you’re driving under the influence! It may sound crazy, but it’s true. That’s what implied consent means in Michigan.
So what happens if I refuse the BAC test?
Well, that’s an interesting question. Let’s see if we can clear this up… As we explained last time, you DO have the right to refuse the roadside BAC test. (The roadside test is a preliminary breath test, or PBT. Refusing to take the PBT test is simply a civil infraction and fine. It is not a crime and there are no points.) However, the roadside BAC test is not the same thing as the chemical evidentiary test which is taken after your arrest. And once you’ve been arrested you DON’T have the right to refuse the test. So any resisting you do at that point is likely to earn you extra criminal charges. Not a good idea!
If you refuse to submit to the chemical evidentiary test, you’ll be considered in violation of Michigan’s implied consent law. If that happens, a ‘report of refusal’ will be submitted to the Michigan Secretary of State’s office. At that point, you’ll have 14 days from the date of refusal to contest the accusation. Failure to respond within 14 days will earn you an automatic six points added to your driving record, and a minimum, one-year license suspension! So, remember that a refusal equals a suspension.
Who administers the test that I have to take after my arrest?
The lawful chemical BAC test, administered after your arrest, determines whether or not there’s alcohol in your blood stream, and how much. As for who administers the test, it might be done back at the jail by the cop who arrested you, or by a clinician at a local hospital. However, your test might be a blood test, a urine test, or a breath test. However the law does special exemptions for diabetics, hemophiliacs, or people taking anticoagulants – they don’t have to submit to blood tests and will have their urine or breath tested instead. People that administer these tests must have special training to do so. Not just any police officer can administer a breath test.
The breath test machine used here in Michigan is called a DataMaster machine. (We don’t use the Breathalyzer machine, although people often use the name “breathalyzer” for this test.) DataMaster machines are kept at many police stations and county jails around the state. In some cases, usually when the person accused of drunk driving was injured, the test involves blood work, which is done at the hospital.
What should I do if I’m pulled over for suspected drunk driving?
If you’re pulled over in Michigan for suspected drunk driving, the law allows you to refuse the roadside PBT test if you want to. But once you’ve been arrested, we advise you to submit to the chemical evidentiary test, whether it’s a blood test, a breath test, or a urine test. The reason we tell you this is because we would never advise anyone to break the law. However, that aside,we also advise that you not say ANYTHING ELSE to the officer. Lawyer up.
Be polite and respectful when you speak to the arresting officer, but don’t answer any questions, and don’t provide any information unless your attorney is present. This means that you will have to be politely silent for quite some time, until you’re booked and then allowed to contact your DUI defense lawyer at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail). Don’t answer questions, don’t explain yourself, and don’t argue with the officer. Simply wait quietly until we speak with you on the telephone. You can also have a friend or family member phone us as soon as you are ready to hire an attorney. We are available 24/7 for crisis intervention.