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DUI stops often include a request for field sobriety tests

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2023 | OWI / DUI / Drunk Driving

During this holiday season, there will no doubt be an increase in traffic in Michigan. You might be among other shoppers and party-goers who get pulled over by the police. If an officer stops you for suspected DUI, it’s important to understand how to exercise your rights.

A police officer who thinks you have been operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol might ask you to step out of your car. Provided that the officer in question had reasonable cause to make the stop in the first place, instructing you to exit your vehicle is a lawful action. It is also an instruction you must obey. However, if the officer then asks you to take a breath test or field sobriety test, you may refuse.

DUI charges are likely if you fail a field sobriety test in Michigan

Do you know that you can test positive for alcohol on a roadside breath test, even if you did not consume an alcoholic beverage before driving? There are numerous products and health conditions that trigger a false positive. If you fail a preliminary breath test or a field sobriety test, a police officer has established probable cause to take you into custody for suspected DUI.

If you submit to and fail alcohol screening tests during a traffic stop, chances are high that you will face DUI charges in court. Many people do not realize that there is no administrative or legal penalty for refusing to take a roadside breath test or field sobriety test. A police officer cannot arrest you for refusing. You cannot lose your license or incur any other penalty. You are free to refuse.

Is it possible to fail a field sobriety test and not receive a DUI conviction?

Yes, it is possible for several reasons. If a personal rights violation took place leading up to, during or following your arrest, a criminal court judge might decide to dismiss your case. Such violations would include not having reasonable cause to make a traffic stop or an unlawful search and seizure.

Things to remember about a chemical Breathalyzer, blood or urine test

The chemical tests, including a Breathalyzer test, are separate from preliminary alcohol screenings that take place during a traffic stop in Michigan. Chemical tests typically occur after your arrest. You can still refuse to take such tests, but there will be a penalty.

When you signed your Michigan driver’s license, you consented to taking chemical tests upon request following a DUI arrest. Refusal to comply will result in a driver’s license suspension. The Breathalyzer device must have had proper calibration, and someone who is certified to use the device should administer it.