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The Difference Between a Preliminary Breath Test and Chemical Breath Test

The Difference Between a Preliminary Breath Test and Chemical Breath Test.jpgMany Washtenaw County residents do not understand the difference between a preliminary breath test and chemical breath test. Due to a lack of information, a driver may have his/her license revoked under Michigan's Implied Consent laws. Read on to learn more.

Michigan Preliminary Breath Test Overview

In Michigan, if you are pulled over under the suspicion of a DUI, the police officer will request for you to perform a series of field sobriety tests. Such tests are used to determine whether or not a person is driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. If the driver is unable to pass the field sobriety tests, the police officer will request him/her to take a preliminary breath test.

A preliminary breath test (PBT) is taken at the scene of the initial police stop. The police officer will use a handheld device to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). If your BAC is above the legal limit, the police officer will have probable cause to arrest you. Upon arrest you will be taken down to the police station. You will have to perform a chemical test. If your chemical test result shows your BAC above the legal limit, you will be formally charged with a DUI.

Michigan Chemical Breath Test Overview

A chemical test is the second test administered after the PBT. The driver will be taken to the nearest police precinct to take a chemical test. This test is a chemical test of the blood, urine, or breath. The test will be used to determine your BAC.

Some drivers are confused as to whether to take a chemical test. If a driver took a PBT, he/she may assume a chemical test is not necessary and refuse to take one. This will result in the automatic suspension of a driver's license. Chemical test are more reliable than PBT and are admissible in court.

Chemical Breath Test Refusal

Under Michigan's Implied Consent laws, drivers impliedly consent to taking a chemical test. As mentioned above, the chemical test consist of either a blood, urine, or breath sample. The law provides a special exemption for diabetics, hemophiliacs, or people taking anticoagulants.

Refusal to take a PBT only results in a fine. However, if a driver refuses to consent to a chemical breath test, his/her driver's license will be suspended up to one year and 6 points are added to the driving record. The officer should tell you that if you refuse to take the test, your driver's license will be suspended.

Hire Washtenaw County DUI Attorney

It is important to understand the difference between a preliminary breath test and a chemical breath test. When you are informed, you will make a wise decision as to whether or not you should take a chemical test. Depending on the nature of your arrest, refusing to take the PBT or chemical test may be in your best interest. I invite you to contact my law office if you have recently been charged with a DUI in the Washtenaw County area.

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