In Michigan, the statutory legal blood alcohol content (BAC) for a driver operating a motor vehicle is .08%. A driver found to be operating at or above this level may be charged with drunk driving and face severe penalties, including jail time, loss of driving privileges, and large fines. If a driver has a BAC of .17% or higher, he or she may face a Super Drunk charge, which carries increased consequences.
When an officer pulls someone over on suspicion of driving under the influence, the officer may administer a series of field sobriety tests. These tests are used to gauge the driver’s level of intoxication and consist of such tasks such as standing on one leg or walking in a straight line.
If the officer deems they have enough evidence to show that the driver is impaired, the officer will read the driver their chemical testing rights. These rights pertain to the “implied consent” law, which states that if you are stopped for impaired driving and asked to take a chemical test, you are required to do so. Refusing to take the test could result in a lengthy license suspension, in addition to other penalties.
When the officer reads the chemical testing rights, the officer informs the driver of the potential penalties for refusing to submit to a test. The rights also state that a urine or blood sample may be taken so that the driver can have it tested independently.
If stopped, you may have the option to choose between a breath test and a blood test. In some circumstances, a urine test may even be available. Of the three tests, the breathalyzer test is the most commonly used because of its convenience. In Michigan, the machine used for breath testing is called the DataMaster.
When taking a breath test, the officer will ask you to blow into a rubber tube until asked to stop. After the test has been completed, the results are printed out and used in court.
It is important for you to understand that the results of a DataMaster breath test are not always accurate. Dental bridges, medications, and physical conditions such as acid reflux can affect the breath test results. If you were charged with drunk driving after failing a breath test, you should speak with an attorney who is experienced in defending tests that may have discrepancies or faults. Attorney Patrick Barone has received intensive certification on the DataMaster and understands its weaknesses and limitations.