Breath Test Refusal

A Proven, Resourceful Michigan DUI/OWI Defense Lawyer

When arrested for drunk driving, the officer will ask you to take a Breathalyzer test. You know you've been drinking. Do you take the test, knowing that you will fail? Or do you refuse the test, presuming there will be less evidence to use against you if arrested?

Lansing, Michigan, DUI/DWI attorney George Zulakis has been successfully defending people confronted with drunk driving charges for more than three decades. He knows the law. He knows the defense strategies. He knows how to protect your rights following a drunk driving arrest. Call our Okemos law firm at 517-349-5011 or 800-385-0092 to schedule a consultation.

Do You Know Michigan Implied Consent/Breath Test Laws?

If you operate your vehicle on Michigan roads, you have implied that you will consent to taking a Breathalyzer test if you are arrested for drunk driving. Refusal of the breath test is considered an implied consent violation and can result in serious ramifications.

First-offense breath test refusal/implied consent violations can result in:

  • Six points added to your driving record - even if you are not convicted for drunk driving
  • Automatic one-year driver's license suspension (longer than consequences for first-offense drunk driving)
  • Ineligibility for a restricted license, unless a separate appeal is filed with the circuit court

Roadside Test Vs. the Breath Test at the Station

Implied consent laws ONLY apply to the Breathalyzer taken at the station. While refusing the roadside breath test - the Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) - is a civil infraction, it does not carry the same consequences as refusing the Breathalyzer at the station, and it does NOT give the officer probable cause for your arrest (however, there are strict consequences for minors refusing the PBT). If the PBT is refused, field sobriety test evidence or other evidence is necessary in order for the arrest to be valid. What many people do not realize is that the field sobriety test is frequently filmed and actually may demonstrate your innocence.

Conversely, refusal of the Breathalyzer test at the station may lead police, if sufficient probable cause exists, to obtain a search warrant that requires you to submit to a blood test - ultimately, giving the officer the BAC results needed to charge you with DUI/DWI/OWI. Unfortunately, your breath test refusal may not accomplish anything except enhanced consequences unless you are able to demonstrate there was insufficient cause for a judge to issue a search warrant to obtain your blood.

If you are brought to the station to take a Breathalyzer test, the officer must advise you of your chemical test rights. For example, you have the right to obtain an independent chemical test - but must submit to the test at the station first. Most people facing first-offense drunk driving charges are better off taking the breath test and then working with an experienced DUI/DWI/OWI defense lawyer to determine the most effective defense strategy to get the breath test results thrown out.

Already Refused the Breath Test? Know Your Rights.

Prior to your mandatory one-year driver's license suspension for your implied consent violation, you have a right to an administrative hearing (implied consent hearing) before the Michigan Secretary of State. DUI/OWI defense lawyer George Zulakis and the legal team at Baird and Zulakis, P.C., provide thorough representation and guidance through the implied consent hearing. We thoroughly investigate your case, and when warranted, challenge the grounds for the traffic stop or the arrest, failure to advise of chemical test rights and other factors - calling into question the admissibility of any evidence obtained - even the fact that you refused the breath test.

Was There Reasonable Refusal?

Ultimately, the objective of the implied consent hearing is to determine if there was reasonable refusal of the Breathalyzer. If you refuse the test and subsequently decide you would like to take the test (within a short period of time), the officer must allow you to take the test. If the police refused to allow you to take the test, the hearing officer may find that there was a reasonable refusal and you will not be subjected to the enhanced consequences for the implied consent violation.

Contact a Lansing DUI Implied Consent Defense Lawyer

How quickly you obtain qualified defense representation can determine the options available in your defense strategy. Contact Baird and Zulakis, P.C., in Okemos, Michigan, at 517-481-2680 or 800-385-0092 to put our DUI/DWI/OWI knowledge and experience to work for you. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., and by appointment.