Michigan’s Implied Consent Law
Michigan drivers are required to take a chemical test to determine bodily alcohol content (BAC) if arrested for drunk driving. Michigan motor vehicle drivers give this consent when they receive their operator’s license. So, anyone licensed to drive a motor vehicle in Michigan must take a BAC test if the police suspect them of drunk driving. Refusal to take the test has stiff penalties.
Types of Blood Alcohol Tests
The police may use different tests to determine if a driver is under the influence of alcohol; many of these tests are known as field sobriety tests. Your rights regarding each test and the penalties for refusal differ depending on the particular test. So, it’s very important to understand which tests law enforcement use.
Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) – This is the breathalyzer test a police officer gives at the scene. If you choose to refuse the PBT, it is not a crime and you will not receive any points on your license. However, it is considered a civil infraction, you will pay a fine, and the officer may still arrest you and bring you in for a different test. Michigan’s Implied Consent Statute does not apply to roadside breathalyzer tests.
DataMaster Machine – This test is administered at the police station and is more accurate than the roadside test. The results from a DataMaster DMT may be used to arrest or charge you with a DUI. If you refuse to take this test you may lose your license for up to two years, and you will now have six points on your driving record. Also, it may be very difficult to obtain a restricted license during this two year period. Basically, it is rarely advised to refuse this test. In fact, once arrested you don’t have the right to refuse all testing. Michigan’s Implied Consent Law DOES apply to those ARRESTED for drunk driving.
Blood Test – When a person refuses a roadside PBT and a DataMaster Machine test at the station, police officers often obtain a search warrant for a blood test. Using this search warrant, the officer will take the suspected drunk driver to a hospital for a blood test. Law Enforcement Officers may also obtain a warrant when there’s been a traffic accident and victims are unconscious if they suspect alcohol was involved in the crash.
Urine Test – Some people have medical conditions that may affect results of blood tests. For example, hemophiliacs, diabetics, or people taking medications that affect the blood may be unable to take the standard blood test. In these cases, a urine test may be used to detect alcohol.
Implied Consent & Driver’s License Appeals
If you refused a BAC test and are being accused of violating Michigan’s implied consent law, you have 14 days to request a hearing. This hearing will determine several factors such as:
- “Whether the peace officer had reasonable grounds to believe that you committed a crime described in MCL 257.625c(1).
- Whether you were placed under arrest for a crime described in MCL 257.625c(1).
- If you refused to submit a chemical test upon the request by the peace officer, whether the refusal was reasonable.
- Whether you were advised your rights under MCL 257.625a.” (Michigan Secretary of State, n.d. Request for hearing implied consent violation).
When appealing a violation or attempting to restore your driver’s license, it’s highly advised to have an attorney assist you with submitting your appeal and representing you at the hearing.
What Are My Rights?
It’s important to at least understand your basic rights in the event you’re pulled over for suspected drunk driving. When a law enforcement officer pulls you over, the most important thing to remember is BE RESPECTFUL and listen to directions. You may refuse the roadside test. If you do that, you may be brought to the police station.
If you take the roadside test and blow over the legal limit, you will be arrested. Once that happens, do not answer any questions. Politely state you would like to talk to your attorney. Hopefully, you will never be arrested for drunk driving; but, if you are it’s extremely important to remain quiet and call an attorney immediately.