A refusal of the PBT test — if requested by a police officer who has reasonable cause to believe that the individual is either intoxicated or, in the case of a minor, has been consuming alcohol — will result in a civil infraction. If the court finds that the person has refused the police officer’s request to take a PBT and that the police officer did have reasonable cause to make such a request, then a fine of between $75 and $200 will likely be assessed. There are no points on an individual’s record for refusing to take the PBT, and the refusal is not admissible by itself in a subsequent court proceeding.
The second breath test is a test used in motor vehicle cases and is requested by the police after an individual has been arrested for an alleged drinking and driving violation. This second test, commonly known as a “Datamaster,” is performed at the police department or jail. The Datamaster test is much more reliable than the PBT administered at the scene. Refusal to take the Datamaster test after an individual has been arrested is a much more serious matter, and unless the individual arrested can demonstrate that it was medically impossible for him or her “to blow” into the Datamaster (asthma, panic attacks, etc.) such a refusal will result in six points being assessed on the individual’s master driving record and will also result in the loss of the individual’s Michigan driving privileges for a period of one year. Additionally, points will be assessed for two years on the person’s Michigan bad driving record. Due to the severe consequences of refusing to take the Datamaster test, it is strongly suggested, that in most cases, this test should not be refused.
Blood tests or urine tests may also be employed as the chemical test of choice that a police officer may ask an arrested individual to take. It is up to the arresting police officer to choose which test the arrested individual must take, or face the previously mentioned consequences of “a refusal” and a violation of Michigan’s “implied consent law.” Once an arrested driver takes the test of choice, however, he or she may request that the police officer give them the opportunity to take a second test (of the arrested individual’s choice) “to verify” the accuracy of the test chosen by the arresting police agency. For example, if you have been requested to take a Datamaster test by the police, you may request to be taken to the nearest hospital to have your own independently administered blood test. It is usually a good idea to do this, and the police must honor your request. Such an independent test, however, will be at the arrested individual’s own expense.
Field sobriety tests
You also have the right to refuse to take what police call “field sobriety tests” — e.g. if you’re asked to walk a straight line keeping your heels and toes together, you can simply respond, politely, “I prefer not to do a heel-to-toe test, or attempt to walk in a straight line, etc.,” and by the way, “I also don’t want to recite the ABCs, etc.” (singing or otherwise). Simply put, you are not required to attempt to perform these types of roadside sobriety tests and, importantly, there are currently no sanctions for an individual who refuses to take these types of field sobriety tests.