Last updated on February 8, 2024

What is the Implied Consent Law in Michigan?

Being issued a license in Michigan gives you driving privileges but it also carries certain responsibilities. One of these is the “implied consent” to submit to breath, blood, or urine tests if you’re suspected of driving under the influence (DUI). Refusal to comply with a chemical test can lead to severe penalties, including license suspension, irrespective of whether a DUI charge is substantiated. These implied consent laws can be challenging to understand, especially when dealing with charges related to test refusal or the repercussions of a DUI case. At Michigan Defense Law, our focus is on DUI cases. We are committed to helping individuals unravel these laws and understand their rights under such circumstances.

Are you confronting a DUI or refusal charge? Our skilled Oakland County DUI attorneys at Michigan Defense Law are prepared to provide comprehensive guidance. We can help you understand the subtleties of the implied consent law and craft a robust defensive strategy that meets your specific needs.

At Michigan Defense Law, our role extends beyond court representation. We stand with you at every step, challenging any unjust charges, and safeguarding your rights. Our commitment is to lessen the potential consequences of an implied consent violation and assist you in moving ahead.

A DUI or implied consent violation doesn’t have to upend your life. Reach out to Michigan Defense Law today. Together, let’s take the first step towards understanding Michigan’s implied consent laws and building your strong defense. Contact us at (248) 451-2200 and let’s work towards securing your future.

The Basics of Implied Consent in Michigan

Implied consent refers to the legal concept that by engaging in certain actions or behaviors, one implicitly agrees to certain consequences or conditions. In the context of driving, this usually applies to chemical testing for alcohol or drugs. By obtaining a driver’s license and operating a vehicle, drivers are considered to have given their implicit consent to such tests if law enforcement suspects them of driving under the influence.

How Implied Consent Relates to Driving

Implied consent is intrinsically tied to the act of driving. When you obtain a driver’s license, you agree to the terms of the implied consent law as part of the licensing process. This means that if you are pulled over and the officer has probable cause to arrest you for a drunk driving offense, you have already consented to take a breath, blood, or urine test.  This rule does not apply to taking the preliminary breath test on the side of the road, prior to your arrest.  It is generally smart to refuse that test and a mistake to refuse the test offered after arrest but each unique circumstance may change those guidelines.  

Refusal to submit to the post arrest test when requested by a law enforcement officer can result in serious consequences. It can lead to a one-year driver’s license suspension for the first offense, and increased penalties for subsequent refusals.

The Legal Framework Around Implied Consent

Implied consent laws form a vital part of the legal framework that governs driving and traffic regulations. The Michigan Vehicle Code explicitly defines these laws, specifying the rights and obligations of drivers under implied consent. These laws also interact with other traffic regulations to create a comprehensive system for maintaining safety on the road.

The Vehicle Code and Implied Consent

Michigan’s Vehicle Code, specifically Section 257.625c, establishes the state’s implied consent law. According to this rule, any person who drives on public roads or in places open to the general public is deemed to have given their consent to chemical tests of their breath, blood, or urine if arrested for suspected OWI,  DUI, or OUID.

It is important to note that declining to take a preliminary breath test (PBT) has different consequences compared to refusing a chemical test under the Implied Consent law. If you refuse a PBT, it’s considered a civil infraction and you’re only subject to a fine, without any risk of your driver’s license being suspended.

Although the outcomes of a preliminary breath test (PBT) can provide an officer with grounds to suspect drunk driving, these results are not admissible as evidence in a court trial. Declining a PBT is not viewed as a criminal offense; instead, it’s classified as a civil infraction.

If you refuse to take a preliminary breath test, it’s treated as a civil infraction, carrying a potential fine of up to $150, along with associated court costs. Contrary to belief, no penalties are imposed on the driver’s license, and no points are added for refusing a preliminary breath test. There are no points added, no suspension issued, and no driver’s license penalties. It’s merely a fine, akin to a civil infraction such as a speeding ticket.

However, the officer can then request the driver to submit to a chemical evidentiary test. Refusal to comply can result in penalties, including license suspension and points on the driver’s record.

Rights and Obligations Under Implied Consent

Under the Implied Consent Law, drivers are considered to have given their consent to chemical tests (blood, breath, or urine) to determine Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or presence of drugs. Drivers are entitled to refuse a chemical test, but this decision comes with significant consequences.  Refusing to submit to a chemical test when arrested for a suspected DUI is a more serious matter.

The penalties for refusing a chemical test can include:

  • License Suspension: Your driver’s license can be suspended for one year for a first-time refusal. If you refuse the test again within seven years, the suspension period increases to two years and the right to a hardship appeal is forfeited.
  • Points Added: Six points can be added to your driving record.
  • Fees: A driver who refuses a test will also have to pay a driver responsibility fee for two consecutive years.

Drivers also have the right to request a hearing to challenge the refusal suspension. This hearing must be requested within 14 days of the arrest. If the request is not made within this time frame, the right to a hearing is forfeited, and the suspension takes effect.

Refusing a chemical evidentiary test under the Implied Consent Law has much more severe consequences compared to refusing a PBT. It’s important for drivers to understand these differences and the potential impact on their driving privileges.

Interplay Between Implied Consent Law and Other Traffic Laws

Implied consent laws do not exist in isolation; they interact with other traffic laws to promote road safety. For instance, the standard traffic laws that prohibit reckless driving or excessive speed indirectly support the enforcement of implied consent laws by providing grounds for law enforcement officers to stop and potentially test drivers for intoxication.

Moreover, DUI and OUID charges, often connected with implied consent laws, can also result in violations of other traffic regulations. For example, a driver charged with a DUI or OUID may also face charges for other traffic offenses like reckless driving, endangerment, or even vehicular manslaughter in severe cases.

In sum, the implied consent law is an integral part of the broader legal framework that regulates traffic and promotes safety on the road. Understanding this law and its interplay with other traffic laws is essential for all Oakland County drivers.

Implied Consent and DUI Arrests

In Oakland County, the implied consent law plays a significant role in driving under the influence (DUI) arrests and subsequent legal proceedings. This law is essential during DUI stops, and after a DUI arrest, and can profoundly impact a DUI case if a driver refuses to submit to chemical testing.

After a DUI arrest, implied consent continues to play a significant role. If the driver submitted to a chemical test and the results indicated a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit, this evidence can be used in court to support a DUI charge.

If a driver refuses the test, the implied consent law dictates automatic penalties. In addition, the fact of refusal can also be introduced in court as evidence of guilt in the DUI case.

Long-Term Implications of an Implied Consent Violation

A violation of the implied consent law can have long-lasting effects beyond immediate penalties. Having a license suspension or DUI conviction on your record can significantly impact your life. It can lead to higher car insurance premiums, difficulty finding employment, and potential issues with travel to countries that restrict entry for individuals with DUI convictions. Furthermore, a record of refusal could influence the court’s decision in any future DUI cases.

Challenging Implied Consent Violations

In some situations, a driver may wish to challenge an implied consent violation. The law provides for specific grounds on which a violation can be contested and a defined hearing process for such challenges. A DUI attorney can play a crucial role in these cases, helping drivers navigate the legal landscape and advocate for their rights.

Grounds for Contesting an Implied Consent Violation

While implied consent laws in Oakland County mandate compliance with chemical testing when requested by law enforcement during a DUI stop, there are situations where individuals may have valid grounds to contest the implied consent violation. Some potential grounds for challenging such violations include:

  • The officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe the driver was operating under the influence.
  • The driver was not arrested for a crime for which a chemical test is required under the implied consent law.
  • The officer did not advise the driver of their rights and the consequences of refusal.
  • The driver did not actually refuse the test.

These arguments, if proven, can potentially lead to the withdrawal of the implied consent violation and reinstatement of driving privileges.

The Hearing Process for Implied Consent Violations

If a driver decides to contest the implied consent violation, they must request a hearing with the Michigan Department of State within 14 days of the arrest. Failure to request a hearing within this timeframe results in an automatic license suspension.

At the hearing, the officer who made the arrest will typically testify, and the driver (or their attorney) will have the opportunity to cross-examine the officer and present evidence supporting their case.

The hearing officer will then make a decision based on the evidence presented. If the driver successfully demonstrates that the implied consent violation was unjustified, the license suspension will be lifted. If not, the suspension stays in effect.

Role of a DUI Attorney in Implied Consent Cases

Navigating the complexities of implied consent violations and DUI cases in Oakland County can be challenging, and having legal representation is often beneficial. A skilled DUI attorney can play a pivotal role in the following ways:

  • Legal Experience: DUI attorneys are well-versed in Oakland County’s implied consent laws, the Vehicle Code, and related regulations. They can assess the circumstances of the violation and identify potential avenues for contesting it.
  • Representation at Hearings: An attorney can represent the driver at administrative hearings, presenting arguments and evidence to challenge the implied consent violation effectively.
  • Negotiation and Defense: In criminal DUI cases, attorneys can negotiate with prosecutors and build a defense strategy to minimize the impact of both the implied consent violation and the underlying DUI charge.
  • Legal Counsel: Throughout the process, a DUI attorney can provide guidance, explain legal options, and ensure that the driver’s rights are protected.

Challenging implied consent violations requires a clear understanding of the grounds for contestation, familiarity with the hearing process, and often the assistance of a qualified Oakland County DUI attorney. These elements are essential for individuals seeking to mitigate the consequences of such violations and safeguard their driving privileges.

Role of a DUI Attorney in Implied Consent Cases Description
Legal Experience DUI attorneys are knowledgeable about Oakland County’s implied consent laws, the Vehicle Code, and related regulations, allowing them to assess violations effectively.
Representation at Hearings Attorneys can represent drivers at administrative hearings, presenting arguments and evidence to contest implied consent violations.
Negotiation and Defense In criminal DUI cases, attorneys negotiate with prosecutors and develop defense strategies to minimize the impact of implied consent violations and DUI charges.
Legal Counsel DUI attorneys offer guidance, explain legal options, and ensure that drivers’ rights are protected throughout the process.

Protecting Your Rights Under Implied Consent Law

Navigating the legal complexities of implied consent laws can be a daunting task. However, understanding potential legal strategies, the importance of legal representation, and how to choose the right DUI attorney can significantly help protect your rights.

There are several strategies that a skilled DUI attorney might use to protect a client’s rights in implied consent cases:

  • Challenge the legality of the stop or arrest: If there’s evidence that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to make the initial traffic stop or probable cause for the arrest, it might be possible to get the entire case dismissed.
  • Challenge the refusal allegation: An attorney might argue that the driver did not actually refuse the test, or that the refusal was not voluntary because the driver was confused or did not understand the consequences of refusal.
  • Challenge the admissibility of the BAC test results: Even if a driver consented to a test and the results show a high BAC, an attorney might challenge the test’s reliability or accuracy, or argue that the test was not administered properly.

Legal representation is crucial in implied consent cases. A knowledgeable Oakland County DUI attorney can help you understand the charges against you, explain the potential penalties, and guide you through the legal process. They can evaluate the evidence in your case, identify any potential defenses, and advocate on your behalf in court.

Moreover, an attorney can represent you during administrative hearings regarding license suspension, which is a separate process from criminal court proceedings. They can help you understand your options, prepare for the hearing, and present your case in the best possible light.

Connect with Michigan Defense Law Today

Facing an implied consent law violation in Oakland County, MI? Take action now. With our extensive track record in DUI law, our team at Michigan Defense Law is equipped to provide the comprehensive support you need.

We understand the complex nature of Oakland County’s implied consent laws and are dedicated to helping drivers understand their rights. Our attorneys excel in explaining the law, outlining its potential impact, and crafting a defensive strategy unique to your circumstances.

Whether it’s challenging BAC test refusals, representing you in administrative hearings, or advocating for you in criminal court, we strive to minimize the potential consequences of an implied consent violation.

Take control of your situation. Contact Michigan Defense Law at (248) 451-2200 and let’s start building your defense together.

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