Implied Consent and Breathalyzer Refusal Suspensions


Michigan Breathalyzer Refusal Attorney

At Grabel & Associates, we realize that most individuals are not familiar with implied consent laws and the consequences of violations for breathalyzer refusal. Simply put, if you are arrested for DUI/DWI and refuse to take the breath test it is a violation of the implied consent laws, which means you could be facing serious penalties.

In Michigan, if you operate a vehicle on roadways, highways or interstates, you have automatically consented (or given permission) to being tested through chemical means if you are arrested for a drunk driving offense. The first implied consent law was passed in Michigan in 1970; prior to this law motorists could refuse to take chemical tests (breath, blood, urine) requested by an arresting police officer, but it essentially meant forfeiting the privilege to drive on the roadways in the state where the individual refused testing.

Our Michigan DUI attorneys understand that these laws can be quite confusing for most, and that when caught in this situation it can create quite a dilemma. Should you consent to the test even though you have been drinking, knowing that you will fail? Or, should you refuse testing so that in the event you are arrested, there will be less evidence against you?

Facts about Michigan breathalyzer refusal/implied consent

Even for a first offense, individuals who refuse a breath test face serious consequences, including:

  • The addition of six points to your driving record, regardless of whether you are convicted on drunk driving charges

  • Without filing a separate appeal with the circuit court, you will not be eligible for a restricted license

  • Automatic driver's license suspension for one year

If it is your second breathalyzer refusal offense within seven years of the first, your license will be suspended for two years. Implied consent penalties remain in effect even for those who are found not guilty of the underlying offense, which is why it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Michigan implied consent suspensions attorney.

Michigan police officers must give clear and unequivocal warnings of the consequences of breathalyzer refusal. If the arresting police officer fails to adequately advise the offender of implied consent laws, it will be determined in an administrative hearing whether your driver's license will be suspended.

Implied consent suspensions do not always mean that you have no options in regards to the suspension of your license. If you refused the breath test and it was your first implied consent violation, you may be able to appeal in circuit court and obtain a restricted license so that you can legally drive to doctor's appointments, school, work, court and other destinations.

Implied consent laws do NOT apply to roadside breath tests

In order for the implied consent laws to be implemented, the breathalyzer test must be administered at the station. While it is a civil infraction to refuse the PBT or Preliminary Breath Test given on site where you were pulled over, the consequences are not as severe. However, breathalyzer refusal at the station may actually result in enhanced consequences, as police may then obtain a search warrant and you will be required to submit to testing, unless you can prove there was not sufficient cause for the search warrant to be issued by the judge.

Did you have a valid reason to refuse the breath test?

Breathalyzer refusal on its own does not necessarily mean you will face license suspension. An implied consent hearing is held to determine whether your reason for refusing to take the breath test was legitimate, or reasonable. Additionally, police officers are required to allow you to take the breath test within a short period of time should you change your mind; if police refuse your request, enhanced penalties for violating implied consent laws may not apply, as the hearing officer may determine there was reasonable refusal.

It is critical that you consult with a Michigan implied consent suspensions lawyer if you have been accused of refusing a breathalyzer test. From the date you receive notice to request a hearing with the Michigan Secretary of State Driver Assessment and Appeal Division, you have only 14 days; otherwise, your right to a hearing is waived, and your driver's license suspended.

Contact the Michigan DUI lawyers at Grabel & Associates today for vigorous, effective legal guidance and representation. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-677-9798 and we aggressively defend the rights of those who have had their driver's license suspended after refusing a breath test.

Please note: Recently DLAD/DAAD changed their name to the Administrative Hearings Section (AHS). Common use of the name AHS has not yet been widely accepted and the entity responsible for driver’s license hearings is still referred to as DLAD/DAAD in almost all legal areas, which is why we continue to use the term “DLAD/DAAD” throughout our website. More information about this change can be found at the Michigan Secretary of State’s website here.