Written by attorney Cy M. Abdo

Michigan's Implied Consent Law, Refusal of the Breath Test When Arrested for OWI

Michigan's Implied Consent Law pertains to the chemical test offered by the police when you are arrested for a drinking and driving offense (known as OWI or Impaired Driving in Michigan). Commonly, the police ask you to take a breath test. You may ask for a second test of your own choosing if you first take the test which is offered by the police. If the refuse the chemical test offered by the police, the police may still obtain a search warrant for a blood test and blood will be drawn or you will be transported to a facility like a hospital for a blood draw by a qualified person. Again, if arrested for drunk driving in Michigan, you will be required to take a chemical test to determine your bodily alcohol content (BAC). Under Michigan's Implied Consent Law, all drivers are considered to have given their consent to this test. Sanctions for Refusal: If you refuse a test, six points will be added to your driver record and your license, or non-resident operating privilege, will be suspended for one year. A suspension of a license, or non-resident operating privilege, is automatic for any refusal to submit to the test. This is a separate consequence from any subsequent convictions resulting from the traffic stop. If you are arrested a second time in seven years and again unreasonably refuse the test, six points will be added to your driver record and your license, or non-resident operating privilege, will be suspended for two years. If you refuse to take the test under the Implied Consent Law or if the test shows your BAC is 0.08 or more, your Michigan driver's license will be destroyed by the officer and you will be issued a 625g paper permit to drive until your case is resolved in court. Appeal Rights: The Implied Consent suspension may be appealed to the Driver Assessment and Appeal Division (DAAD). The request for hearing must be mailed within 14 days of the date of arrest or your operator's or chauffeur's license and vehicle group designation or operating privilege will be automatically suspended. You are not required to have an attorney at this hearing, but an attorney may represent you if you wish. If you lose at this hearing, you have a right to appeal a first time implied consent suspension to the circuit court where the offense occurred and request a restricted license based upon hardship and need. You may also appeal based upon the merits of the decision of the DAAD hearing officer if you feel that the evidence was in your favor. You will want to consult with an attorney regarding your appeal rights if you find yourself in this situation.

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