Refusal of a Michigan Breathalyzer test

In virtually every instance in which an individual is arrested for a Michigan OWI, the arresting officer will request that you submit to a breath or blood sample to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC).

Oftentimes, defendants will refuse to provide the breath or blood sample under the belief that “I don’t want to assist the police in collecting evidence of my guilt.” Unfortunately, the refusal of a breath or blood sample request during the course of a Michigan OWI arrest could cause a very quick revocation of all of your Michigan driving privileges. An experienced Michigan OWI defense attorney can help you from losing your Michigan driving privileges.

Clients who have refused to provide a breath or blood sample to the arresting officer are frequently shocked to learn that all of their Michigan driving privileges can be completely revoked, even before receiving notice of their first court date. The revocation takes place via the Michigan Secretary of State and not through the court system. Sometimes your first court hearing can be several months after your arrest, but that will not prevent the Secretary of State from taking immediate action against your license.

If there is an allegation that you refused to provide a blood or breath sample, even if the allegation of refusal is untrue, it is critical that you request a hearing with the Secretary of State within 14 days of your arrest. If you do not demand a hearing with the Secretary of State within the 14-day window, your license will become 100% revoked. The hearing that is requested within the 14-day window is known as an “Implied Consent” hearing. At the hearing, the arresting officer will appear and provide evidence that you unreasonably refused to provide a blood or breath sample when requested. That does not mean you will automatically lose the Implied Consent hearing. A qualified Michigan OWI defense attorney can explore numerous defenses as to why you allegedly refused to provide a blood or breath sample. Perhaps the most common viable defense is that the arresting officer did not advise you that your refusal to provide a blood or breath sample would result in a loss of your driving privileges. Michigan law requires the arresting officer to provide you with such an advice of rights.

The Michigan Secretary of State Implied Consent hearing requires the arresting officer to be present at the time of your hearing. In fact, the officer needs to be present within 15 minutes of the appointed time. If the police officer fails to appear or arrives 16 minutes late, the allegation of Implied Consent refusal will be dismissed and there will be no adverse action taken against your driver’s license. While it is highly unusual for the officer to not show up or arrive late, it does happen on rare occasions.

If your Michigan Implied Consent hearing is unsuccessful, you will need to make a “hardship appeal” to the circuit court in the county where you were arrested. Even if you were unsuccessful at the earlier hearing, the circuit court can grant you hardship driving privileges. An experienced Michigan OWI defense attorney will know how to coordinate the timing of such a hearing so as to prevent even a single day’s loss of driving privileges.

Your Michigan driver’s license may be the most valuable asset you own, even more valuable than your home or your retirement accounts. Attorney Richard I. Lippitt understands the importance of protecting this valuable asset. Mr. Lippitt appears in Michigan courts over 350 times each year in defense of Michigan OWIs and stands ready to provide you with a free, no obligation meeting regarding your Michigan OWI. Please contact us via the form on this page or call (248)921-7164.