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Breathalyzer Refusal in Michigan What You Need to Know

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When anyone is pulled over for suspected drunk driving, they face a variety of possible tests to determine their sobriety or lack thereof. Such tests include walking in a straight line, balancing on one leg, or the breathalyzer test. While one may believe refusing the different tests works as a way to avoid facing criminal punishment, in reality that does not hold true. Refusing such tests put you under a larger microscope for both the arresting officer and the law. However strong you may feel about your sobriety, you must also understand the different laws and why they exist. In Michigan, actions like breathalyzer refusal chemical-test-refusal-attorney/ carry significant meaning to them. Simply looking to move on without following the expected steps will not let you off free.

Many states feature their own slate of laws covering potentially drunk drivers and more. Different tests and their respective refusals fall into the category of individualized laws. With that in mind, looking into Michigan’s individual laws provides you with vital knowledge. This knowledge comes in handy in case you face possible punishment. Specifically, refusing a breathalyzer test exists as an unknown among many in Michigan. Let’s take a closer look at what happens in such a scenario.

Breathalyzer Refusal in Michigan What You Need to Know

What To Do When Pulled Over

Before we get into breathalyzer refusal specifically, it remains essential for you to understand what to do when pulled over. To ensure you do not face further punishments, follow what the officer asks you to do. Do not take any actions unless the officer approves of them, as cops know exactly what they want you to do in such situations. Make sure you have your insurance and registration ready, as well as your license.

Once the officer asks you to exit the vehicle, make sure to do so in a timely and calm manner. Follow the officer’s directions, and pay attention to each action the officer takes.

I’ve Followed The Directions, Now What?

Next, the officer will ask you to go through tests to determine your sobriety. As stated earlier, these tests include walking in a straight line, reciting the alphabet backwards, balancing on one leg, and/or a breathalyzer test. You may wonder what happens if you simply refuse to take these tests. While a reasonable question, it does not serve as a reasonable solution. The law understands that if you could simply turn down tests, everyone would do it. It’s essentially turning down potential evidence for cops because you don’t want to self-incriminate.

However, undergoing the tests is not the end of the world. With the proper DUI Lawyer, you can make your case in the Michigan court system. Perhaps your lawyer can even spot a faulty practice in the events that transpired, helping make your tests null and void. Regardless, undergoing the tests is the way to go.

What Happens in the Case of a Breathalyzer Refusal?

This is where a Michigan law comes in that carries great meaning in the case of a breathalyzer refusal. One of Michigan’s laws is implied consent. Implied consent means that if an arresting officer believes you have been driving under the influence and feels that they have probable cause to ask you to take a sobriety test of some sort, you already have given your consent to take the test. You may be wondering when or how you gave your consent. This is where the implied consent law must be understood. Implied consent means that you do not have to give your consent, but the officer has every right to decide consent for you.

By driving on the road, you are essentially giving your consent. Officers cannot simply pull anyone over and ask them to take a test, but if they feel they have strong enough evidence you are under the influence, they absolutely can and will pull you over and subject you to a test.

Is There Any Way Out of the Test?

One way out of a breathalyzer test is if you are a diabetic or have another medical illness that speaks to your inability to healthily take the test. Otherwise, you can refuse to take the test, but due to the implied consent law, you will face penalties.

The first penalty you face is looking more guilty under the eye of the law. While this is not set in stone, by refusing to take a breathalyzer test, you are implying you have something to hide. The law does not look kindly on this. The second and more important penalty you face is a fine. Should the officer feel you still should be arrested even after rendering the fine, they still have the right to arrest you. So you could refuse to take the tests and still be arrested anyway in the state of Michigan.

About Us

Gary M. Wilson began trying cases in 1988 in the Office of the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney in Detroit, Michigan. In 1992 he entered private trial practice as a criminal defense lawyer. Licensed to practice in Michigan and Massachusetts, he has also been admitted to practice before the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan.


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  • Wilson Law
    21002 Mack Avenue
    Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236
    Phone: 313-246-8885

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Wilson Law - Detroit DUI Lawyer Wilson Law
21002 Mack Avenue
Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236
FREE CONSULTATION: 313-246-8885