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Do you understand the implied consent law in Michigan?

Along with every other state, Michigan has an implied consent law, and it will be enforced if police pull you over on the suspicion of driving while impaired or intoxicated. You agreed to abide by this law when you applied for your driver’s license.

You may know what “implied consent” means, but do you know how it works?

The preliminary test

If you drive on Michigan roads, you “imply” that you will “consent” to breathalyzer testing if you are under arrest for drunk driving. Perhaps a police officer observes that you are driving erratically and stops you on suspicion of drunk driving. The officer may ask you to step out of your vehicle and take a Preliminary Breath Test, or PBT, to find out if alcohol had anything to do with your reckless driving behavior.

Roadside versus station testing   

Keep in mind that if you refuse to take the PBT, you are guilty of a civil infraction, and drivers under the age of 21 will have two points added to their driving record. However, the implied consent law only comes into play if you refuse to take a breath test at the police station.

First offense penalties

If you refuse to take the breathalyzer test at the station, you have a right to request an administrative hearing. If the officer who arrested you wins the case and this is your first drunk driving offense, the penalties will include:

  •         Driver’s license suspension for one year
  •         Six points added to your driving record
  •         License suspension for two years if you refused to take the breath test one or more times in the preceding seven years

The effects of alcohol consumption

No matter if you drink beer, wine or whiskey, the effects of alcohol are the same: it impacts your judgement and self-control. Your reflexes will be slower, your concentration foggy and your vision somewhat blurred. Once you are behind the wheel, you may even realize that driving is dangerous. In this condition, you risk being stopped on suspicion of DUI and a breath test will be in order. However, the implied consent law in Michigan will have no effect on you if you make it a rule never to drink and drive.


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