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Why “Do Not Blow” Might be Bad Advice For Your Drunk Driving Arrest!

You’ve probably heard it a thousand times by now – the Michigan State Police are going to try and make you take a breathalyzer test if they pull you over for drunk driving, but you shouldn’t do it! (Actually, here in Michigan the cops have to use a machine called a DataMaster at the jail or police station.) The common logic suggests that if you refuse, which you’re allowed to do here in Michigan, then you’re stripping them of their evidence against you. Makes sense, right? If you don’t blow into the breath test machine, they can’t prove you were drunk. Then their case falls apart in court and you walk away unscathed, right? Except in Michigan, it doesn’t usually work that way.

A close up of a person's hands, while they sit in their car, taking a breath test machine from an officer

If you refuse a breathalyzer, there are serious consequences…

Not only do you usually make your own life harder by refusing a roadside breath test (which is your right here in Michigan) but it doesn’t stop the cop collecting evidence of your potential intoxication. To be clear, Michigan law permits you to refuse the PBT, which is the roadside preliminary breath test. Refusal is only a civil infraction. That’s very different than refusing the breath test (the DataMaster test) In fact, if you refuse to blow at the jail or police station, a couple of bad things will probably happen. First, the Michigan Secretary of State will automatically suspend your driver’s license for at least a year. Also, the arresting officer will simply move on to option 2, which is impossible to refuse, and a lot harder to fight in court when it comes to evidence.

After the “blow” option, comes the “bleed”…

Cops like breath tests. Courts like them too. They’re quick and easy and handy, and they get relatively reliable results. Not perfect, mind you. And not results that can’t be argued against in court, but not completely crapshoot results either. However, if you refuse to take that quick and easy test, the officer has no choice but to move on to the next option – getting a warrant and then having a blood draw done at a local hospital. Then your blood will be tested for alcohol and drug content. And that kind of evidence is actually much harder to discredit in court. Why? Because it’s usually much more reliable. (Which is why the blow is always better than the bleed!)

Breath test equipment like the DataMaster can get false positives. Blood work usually doesn’t…

There are all kinds of things that can affect the way a Datamaster machine analyzes your breath for alcohol content. Medications, ketones, diabetes, even basic maintenance of the device itself – these things all have an impact on how the Datamaster works and how accurate the results are. Blow into a Datamaster and it can only analyse what it gets, which is easily influenced by all sorts of things. That means it’s entirely possible to stand up in court and argue that the breath test results “proving” that you were drunk may in fact be bogus. But it’s a lot harder to prove that your blood work results could be inaccurate. 

There was a time when this was really great advice…

Back in the day, refusing a breath test was pretty good advice if you happened to get pulled over for suspected drunk driving. But those days have passed. Now, in most cases here in Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor or Lansing, it’s actually much better to just submit to the jailhouse  breath test rather than end up having a blood draw done to prove your intoxication. In the end, our drunk driving defense attorneys will have an easier time fighting for your future if all we’re up against is the results of a Datamaster breath test.

Make sure you have a great attorney on your side from the start!

Whether you live in East Lansing, West Bloomfield or Norton Shores, a DUI is no joke! If you get arrested for drunk driving or drugged driving, call an experienced drunk driving attorney the first moment you can, and explain everything to your attorney (but not to anybody else!) For some of the best legal counsel and representation, call The Kronzek Firm today at 866-766-5245 (1 866-7NoJail).Our aggressive drunk driving defense team has more than a quarter century of experience. We’ve helped hundreds of people here in Michigan fight DWI charges, and we can help you too. We’re available to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

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