Blood and breath tests are often used in DUI investigations to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or the amount of drugs in a driver’s system. Passing one of these tests could lead to exoneration, while failing could help the prosecution prove a DUI in court.
Michigan’s “implied consent” law states that any person who has been arrested for an intoxicated driving offense is deemed to have consented to a breath or blood test. If a person withdraws this implied consent—by refusing testing—the officer cannot forcibly administer a test without a court order. But an unlawful refusal carries certain consequences.
License suspension. Drivers who refuse to submit to a lawfully requested blood or breath test face a one-year license suspension. Any subsequent test refusal within seven years will result in a two-year license suspension.
Restricted license. Persons who refuse chemical testing are not eligible for the restricted license (which permits the person to drive with an ignition interlock device during the suspension) normally available to those convicted of intoxicated driving offenses.
Evidentiary uses. Chemical test results are often used in OWI (operating while intoxicated) trials, but prosecutors can rely on other evidence to prove intoxication. The fact that a driver refused to submit to testing can be used against him or her at trial. Refusal doesn’t directly prove intoxication but can indicate consciousness of guilt. So, even if a person refuses testing, an OWI conviction is still possible.
The decision to submit to or refuse chemical testing can have serious consequences. While a person normally won’t have the opportunity to consult with legal counsel prior to making this decision, a qualified DUI attorney can assist in handling the repercussions of your decision. If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence, get in touch with an experienced DUI as soon as possible.