If you have been stopped for suspicion of drunk driving, the officer will want to test your sobriety and get proof that could be used to convict you. They will do this either through a breathalyzer test or a blood test. Some people may think that they can escape punishment if they refuse the test. In Michigan, the law does not work that way.
Michigan is an implied consent state. This means that when you hold a Michigan driver’s license and operate a motor vehicle, you implicitly agree that law enforcement could administer a chemical test. The law states that you must maintain this consent after you have been stopped by police. The consequences for withdrawing this consent may be even more severe than some drunk driving penalties.
Of course, you always have the right to refuse an OWI test in Michigan. You should just be prepared for the consequences if you do. Even if you will not take a field breathalyzer test, the officer could go to court to get a warrant to perform a blood test. This is like a warrant to perform a search. While this may mean that the alcohol level in your blood has gone down in the time when the officer is obtaining the warrant, there will still be consequences when police have to go to this effort to get evidence.
There are several ways that the police will administer an OWI test. They could do it at the roadside. Refusing this test will have some consequences, such as an enhanced fine. Refusing the breathalyzer test at the station will have more severe punishment attached. This is when you have violated the implied consent laws. At this point, you could be punished with the following:
In addition, you may have difficulty qualifying for a restricted license, even with an interlock device, while your license is suspended. In the meantime, if your case goes to trial, the judge and jury could fully consider the fact that you refused a test. Nonetheless, refusal to take this test could reduce the amount of physical evidence that the prosecutor could use against you.
Drivers who refuse to cooperate at all with police by submitting for a test will still face some sort of punishment. Of course, if police have administered a chemical or blood test, you could always challenge the results on one of several grounds, such as a mishandling of the sample or a broken machine. This is why an attorney is almost important in any OWI case.
If you have been arrested and charged with OWI, it is critical to know your legal options. If you choose a plea bargain, you can negotiate for the best possible terms. Call the attorneys at The Van Den Heuvel Law Office at (616) 696-0000 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.
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