Hey, welcome back. I get asked this question ALL. THE. TIME.
If I get pulled over should I consent to doing a breath test,
This test is known as a PBT. You’ll hear a lot of tough-guy or tough-girl lawyers tell you that you don’t have to take a PBT and this is true. It’s not a crime if you refuse to take it. BUT it’s really not that simple. Refusing a PBT does not mean you go on your way, it can actually make things worse.
No, it’s not a crime to refuse to blow into a PBT to determine how drunk or impaired you are. But if you do refuse to take a breathalyzer test, you’re violating the Michigan Vehicle Code. Believe me, the Secretary of State penalties ARE HARSH.
- 6 points are automatically added to your driving record. This can make it far more difficult to appeal sanctions on your license down the road and your insurance premiums are likely to be affected.
- But even more severe–if you refuse to take the breathalyzer test when you’re pulled over YOUR LICENSE IS AUTOMATICALLY SUSPENDED FOR A YEAR.
Think about it—whether or not you actually are or are not drunk—it doesn’t matter. If you merely refuse the breathalyzer test, you will lose your license for a year. And consider the domino effect not having a license for has.
How will you work, or go to school, or drive your kids around? What if you’re looking for a job and need to prove that you can make it to work? What if you’re sick and need to see a doctor? I could go on, but my point is every-day tasks that you rely on driving for, become that much harder.
Sure, you can appeal this by mailing a hearing request within 14 days of your arrest, and an attorney can represent you at the hearing, but the deck is stacked against you.
Michigan has an “implied consent” law. That’s a law that says when you get into your car, start the engine, and start driving, you’ve just automatically consented to cops testing your blood, breath, and urine. They don’t need your consent after they pull you over. They can just take you back to the station and arrange a blood test.
Note that field-sobriety tests are not covered under the implied-consent law, because they are not chemical tests. You have every right to refuse a field-sobriety test. In fact, if you have balance problems or don’t expect to do well, it may be beneficial to refuse take a field-sobriety test—there’s no penalty in doing that.
But a PBT/breathalyzer or even a blood test at the station is covered under the implied consent law, and if you refuse to admit to these tests, life for the next year is going to be harder on you.
I tell you this because every Michigan driver has a right to and should know what risks he or she is subject to when they get behind the wheel. I have ample experience in implied consent hearings, representing drivers who have refused chemical tests and I have ample experience representing drivers who submitted to tests and have moved on to the stages of their OWI charges. We can help you wherever you might be at in this process.
Click the link below this video to visit the George Law website, or call me at 248-470-4300. I am available 24 hours a day.
If you do refuse a field test, the officer will probably ask you to take an immediate chemical test, which you cannot refuse. But if you are under the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level, a chemical test can prove it much more conclusively than can a field-sobriety test.
Being accused of a drunk-driving offense is frightening; you have no idea what you are facing, or whether you will lose your freedom. Anyone charged with driving drunk (or with drugged driving, really) needs to get help from a highly skilled DUI defense attorney.
If you have questions, click the link below to get to the George Law web-page, or call George Law at (248) 470-4300.