Back to top

Drinking and Driving and Chemical Testing


Chemical testing is a major part of any drinking and driving charge. Michigan uses the .08 BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) standard as a cut off for drinking drivers. It means that you can be charged with drinking and driving for having .08 grams of alcohol per liter of blood. In the majority of drinking and driving cases two types of chemical tests are administered, the preliminary breath test and the Michigan implied consent law.

Preliminary Breath Test

When you are stopped for suspicion of drinking and driving the officer will attempt to preform an investigation to determine if you in fact are under the influence. To do so the officer will try to gather evidence against you to support his claim. One way the officer does this is through field sobriety testing and the preliminary breath test or PBT. The preliminary breath test is usually administered by the police officer using a hand held device that you blow into. There is case law that allows a police officer to make a valid arrest for drinking and driving based on the results of the PBT alone. It is possible for an officer to arrest you for drinking and driving without having you submit to a PBT.

Refusing a PBT in Michigan

Refusing a PBT is a civil infraction, which means it is in the same category as a traffic ticket. The penalty for refusing the preliminary breath test is a fine. There is no license sanction.

If the police officer does not have a strong case against you then refusing a preliminary breath test may prevent you from having to fight DUI charges. On the other hand, refusing a preliminary breath test could result in you defending against a DUI as well as a civil infraction for PBT refusal.

 Implied Consent Law in Michigan

If you have been arrested for drinking and driving the officer will attempt to gain more evidence against you by having you submit to more chemical testing. This usually occurs at the police station using an instrument called a DataMaster or a DataMaster DMT. The DataMaster is similar to a PBT in that it uses breath to measure alcohol. It is also possible for the officer to obtain blood or urine to determine the amount of alcohol in your system.

Refusing the Implied Consent Law

Michigan law says that every driver has consented to alcohol chemical testing if that driver is under arrest on suspicion of DUI. Failure to submit to chemical testing in this case will result in 6 points being added to your driving record and a loss of driving privileges for a year.

The preliminary breath test is not admissible in court but for three rare exceptions this page will not address. This means that the only evidence of your actual blood alcohol level will come from the chemical testing administered after you are arrested in relation to the implied consent law, which makes refusing the implied consent law tempting. Be warned, it is highly probable that even if you refuse the implied consent chemical testing the officer will still obtain a warrant for your blood. If that happens you may find yourself out of a license and fighting a DUI charge.

Michigan DUI Attorney

Aaron J. Boria is a Michigan criminal defense attorney. He has handled drinking and driving cases all over the state including misdemeanors and felonies. Attorney Boria is also experienced in defending against implied consent law refusals and appealing them to the circuit court.

If you have been charged with drinking and driving or cited for violating the implied consent law contact criminal defense lawyer, Aaron J. Boria today (734) 453-7806