You may have heard that you are legally allowed to refuse the breathalyzer, or Preliminary Breath Test (PBT), in Michigan. The PBT is a small, handheld device used by police officers during roadside stops. The PBT is one of many field sobriety tests used to determine probable cause for an arrest. Often, the police will attempt to administer the PBT after you’ve passed the Standardized Roadside Field Sobriety Test.
It is true that refusing to administer the PBT is completely legal. You also will receive no points on your license for refusing. Because the PBT isn’t always accurate, its results are very rarely admissible in court and cannot be used as evidence of your guilt. However, refusal of a PBT is a civil infraction; you will be fined up to $200. [MCL 257.625a(2)(d)] If you are an operator of a commercial vehicle, you may face a 93-day misdemeanor in addition to a fine between $100 and $200 and a 24-hour out-of-service order.
What Is the Implied Consent Law?
In Michigan, driving is a privilege and not a right. When applying for your driver’s license in Michigan, you consent to the participation of a chemical alcohol content test whenever arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.
Because of the Implied Consent law, refusal to participate in a chemical breath, urine, or blood alcohol test after arrest will automatically result in a one-year suspension of your driver’s license along with 6 points added to your driving record.
If you refuse a second time within 7 years, your driver’s license may be suspended for 2 years. The police must read inform you of your Implied Consent rights before administering the chemical alcohol content test.
Additionally, you have 14 days to a hearing before the Secretary of State. You may contest the suspension before the Driver’s License Appeal Division of the Secretary of State. An experienced drunk driving defense attorney can help you raise a successful defense.
Finally, if you have been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, it is important to be respectful, stay calm, and refrain from volunteering any unnecessary information. If you’ve been arrested, politely request you speak with your defense attorney.