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Do I Have to Take a Field Sobriety And Breathalyzer Test?

If a police officer suspects you of drunk driving in Michigan, they may ask you to perform a field sobriety test and/or preliminary breathalyzer test. Do you have to perform these tests?

While you can refuse, you can face consequences for doing so. For example, if you refuse a breath test, the officer could add refusal to your ticket. This will trigger additional consequences.

What Is the Field Sobriety Test?

The field sobriety test (FST) usually consists of three parts:

  • Tracking an object the officer moves in front of your eyes (the horizontal gaze nystagmus)
  • Walking a straight line and turning
  • Standing on one leg and touching your nose

These tests often produce unreliable results. An experienced defense attorney can challenge the results, especially if the officer performed the tests incorrectly. However, refusing the FST test will usually not help your case.

What Is the Breath Test?

There are actually two breath tests in Michigan: the preliminary breathalyzer test performed by the police officer at the scene and a second test at the police station.

Michigan's implied consent law requires you to take both breath tests:

  • If you refuse a preliminary breathalyzer test, you could be charged with a civil infraction, which carries a $150 fine.
  • If you refuse the second test at the police station, refusal will be added to your ticket, and you will be subject to a one-year driver's license suspension.

It usually does not pay to refuse either test. If you refuse the second test, the police officer could obtain a warrant for a blood draw.

Talk to a Drunk Driving Defense Attorney Today

For more information about FST and breath tests, call 248-470-4300, or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation with DUI/OUI defense attorney Derrick E. George. From our office in Birmingham, we represent clients in the Detroit metro area and throughout Michigan.


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