What if I Refused to Take the Breath Test?

If you refused to take a breath test in the police car, you may have been charged with an additional offense called PBT refusal. This is a civil infraction, and not really that big of a deal.

The big deal is the refusal to take the breath test at the police station. When the police notify the Secretary of State of such a refusal, it will cause your license to be suspended for one year, regardless of whta else happens in your case.

The Secretary of State will send a form titled “Officer’s Report Of Refusal To Take A Chemical Breath Test.” The form explains that you have 14 days to request a hearing before the Secretary of State’s Administrative Hearing Section (AHS), or your license will be automatically suspended for one year.

Even if your memory isn’t clear about what was said or given to you (let’s face it, your were undoubtedly nervous, upset, and not at your best), if you were given a Michigan temporary driving permit as a paper license, then you don’t have to worry about losing your license at this stage or requesting a hearing with Secretary of State.

If you did get the “Officer’s Report Of Refusal To Take A Chemical Breath Test,” it is important that you complete the back of that form and request a hearing within 14 days of your arrest to avoid having your license automatically suspended.

Even if those 14 days have passed, or there is nothing you can do about the refusal, we can go to court (if this is the first time this has happened to you) and have your license reinstated anyway. Whether or not that’s even worth doing depends on how many prior drunk driving cases you’ve had, if any, and how long ago they occurred. This is certainly something to ask about when you call.

If you refused the breath test at the police station, then in all likelihood a warrant was obtained and your blood was taken for analysis by the state police crime lab. The circumstances surrounding a blood test must be carefully examined, because this is prime ground for finding errors in or problems with the case that can result in a successful challenge to the evidence, and may even result in a case being "knocked out." Once in a while, after a person refuses to take a breath test, the police fail to get their blood taken. In those cases, the chances of beating the case go up considerably. I have had cases dismissed where those circumstances, among others, were present. Whatever your situation, it is crucial to have a Michigan DUI lawyer, like me, examine the evidence and explain your options.

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