If You are Pulled Over for Drunk Driving, you won't sleep well for a few nights
If this is the first time you have been charged with drunk driving, a lot of stuff will be going through your mind after you get out of jail.. And, if you re a first timer, you don't know what will happen next and yo will second guess every decision you made up to the point where they put you in handcuffs.
Here are some questions I get from people after they are arrested for any degree of drunk driving.
People have asked me, “if I am pulled over and the officer asks if I had a drink, what should I say?” On one hand, you don’t want to lie outright to the officer. On the other hand, if you tell the truth, you are going to find yourself subjected to Field Sobriety Tests (FST) and probably be asked to take an alcohol breath test on the spot.
In Michigan, the Supreme Court has ruled that if you are pulled over and you admit to the officer that you had just one beer, that gives the officer enough “reasonable suspicion” that you are possibly impaired and that is enough to ask you to step out of the car and do FTSs. Then, if you ever have tried to stand on one foot for a minute while counting or have permanent nystagmus like me and you fail one of the tests, you will give the officer enough “probable cause” to ask you to submit to a breath test. And if you have had three or four drinks in the last 3 hours, you might be going to jail.
Obviously, you don’t want to outright lie but you don’t want to tell the officer you have been drinking either. So, if he asks where you were, you don’t have to say that you and some buddies were at the bar watching the big game. If you had something to eat with your buddies, you might just respond that you were just having dinner with some friend’s and you were just on your way home.
The point is, if you are shit-faced drunk the officer is going to know it. But if you had a couple glasses of wine with dinner and you are not drunk, you are not impaired, and you don’t want to spend the next 30 minutes doing field sobriety tests on some cold and snowy night pulled over on the side of the road with lights flashing, try to satisfy the police officer’s curiosity without saying much and not lie.
There are two different breath tests; (1) PBT- the Preliminary Breath Test that you take when you are pulled over and (2) the Data Master breath test that you take at the police station. The results of the Datamaster are admissible in court. Refusing to the PBT is a civil infraction with a fine of $100.00. Refusing to take the Datamaster is a different matter. Whether to take the the roadside breath test is something to decide based on the facts at the time you are pulled over and whether delaying taking a breath test will help.
It is generally not advisable to refuse the Datamaster. They will get a warrant for a blood draw, transport you to the hospital, and get the resuts anyway. And if you have done any illegal or even legal drugs, they could show up if they look for it. In addition, unless you had one of four allowable reasons for refusing the Datamaster, your license is suspended for one year with 30 days being a hard suspension. Plus, you are still going face a drunk driving charge if the results of the blood tests don't go in your favor. And lastly, if this was the first time, an attorney could probably have gotten the charged reduced to impaired with no hard suspension of you license and 9 months less restricted license.
In most jurisdictions, an attorney who has experience in drunk driving cases, can keep a first-time offender out of jail, excluding the day or night you first spent locked up. There are things you can do to help your case including filing motions if possible, challenging any tests that you wee asked to take, and making sure the law was followed and any evidence is admissible. On the other hand,
Whether it is representation in a legal matter or just some legal advice, Schmierlaw can help. We specialize in Criminal and Drunk Driving Defense and can help you with any sort of legal issue which may arise including Felonies or Misdemeanors, Drunk Driving, Traffic Tickets, Juvenile Offenses, or any other legal concern which you may have.
Law Office of James G. Schmier, PLLC
2222 Attard Street, Birmingham, Michigan 48009
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