What Can Happen If I Refuse To Take A Breath Test After Drinking and Driving?

When a police officer stops a vehicle and believes the driver to be under the influence of alcohol the officer can ask the driver to take a preliminary breath test. This test involves the driver blowing into a portable device that measures the driver’s blood alcohol content. The results of the test can be used as the basis for the police officer to make an arrest for drunk driving.

Refusal to take this test is a civil infraction, punishable by a fine. For drivers of commercial motor vehicles, however, refusal to take the test is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a $100 fine, or both, and will result in the issuance of a 24 hour out-or-service order. Drivers under the age of 21 will receive 2 points on their driving record.

The police officer may still arrest the driver even without the results of the breath test where there is probable cause to believe the driver had been under the influence of alcohol.

Whether this preliminary test is taken or not, the arrested driver will then be asked to submit to a chemical test, usually a breath test, at the police station.

Related: U.S. Supreme Court Requires Warrants For Blood Draws From Drunk Driving Suspects

Michigan’s Implied Consent Act requires that motorists arrested for a crime that involves driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol submit to a chemical test. This test is separate from the preliminary breath test drivers are asked to take by the side of the road.

A chemical test generally involves breathing into a machine called a DataMaster, which measures the driver’s blood alcohol content, though blood and urine tests are authorized by the statute but are more uncommon.

Refusal to take a chemical test results in a one year license suspension. A second refusal within seven years of a previous refusal results in a a two year license suspension. Six points will be assessed on the driver’s license.

The license suspension can be fought in an Implied Consent Hearing. After a first-time refusal and under certain circumstances a driver may obtain a restricted license through an appeal to the circuit court.

When a driver refuses to submit to the chemical test the police officer can then apply for a search warrant to perform a chemical test by way of a blood draw. Fighting the officer or medical professional performing the blood draw can lead to the serious felony charge of resisting arrest.

Read More About Drunk Driving

Contact ArborYpsi Law at 734-883-9584or at bernstein@arborypsilaw.com to speak with attorney Sam Bernstein

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