Breathalyzer Tests

If your case involves use of a Breathalyzer Test, you should have your case reviewed by an attorney to see whether the results are admissible and how it affects your case.

So What Is A Breathalyzer Test?

In most OWI cases, you are asked to take a Breathalyzer test. Generally, there are two types of tests:

PBT Preliminary Breathalyzer Test

This test is typically administered at the scene of a traffic stop using a portable PBT Unit. It is generally not admissible as evidence at trial of an OWI case, and is generally used to determine whether or not to arrest a person for a drinking and driving charge.

Evidential Breathalyzer Test

This test is typically administered at the police station or jail. The machine used is a DATAMASTER, and the results can often be admitted into evidence at trial. Procedures for operation of the machine require administration of at least two tests (unless there is a refusal).

What Does The Test Do?

The Breathalyzer Test measures the percent of alcohol by volume of the air which goes through the machine. The DATAMASTER first runs a blank test, to verify that there is no measured alcohol in the machine, then you are asked to blow into the machine. Afterwards, the machine again runs a blank test.

What Do The Results Mean?

In Michigan, certain presumptions attach to results from a Breathalyzer Test result. Typically you are given a pink slip of paper showing the results. Certain results can create a presumption of being under the influence:

.00 to .02

No Action For Drinking And Driving (However, note exceptions for CDL drivers and persons under 21)

.03 to .08

Presumption of Impaired Driving (OWI), however, depending on circumstances can be .00 to .08

.08 or more

Presumption of OWI (Intoxicated)

Did The Police Follow The Rules?

Issues surrounding the Breathalyzer Test can involve whether the police followed the rules for giving a test. These questions can involve:

  • Did the officer observe the Defendant for 15 minutes prior to the test?
  • Is the administering officer a Class II or Class III Operator?
  • Has the DATAMASTER machine been regularly calibrated in accordance with Michigan State Police rules and procedures
  • Was the Defendant read their rights with respect to an independent blood or urine test?

Failure to follow the rules for administration of a Breathalyzer Test can result in a better plea or even a dismissal. If your case involves use of a Breathalyzer Test, you should have your case reviewed by an attorney to see how it affects your case.

To know whether or not you have any legal issue with a Breathalyzer, you should consult an attorney. You can call Thomas J. Tomko at 586-795-8822 to make an appointment and have your specific facts reviewed. Don't get railroaded into a plea before knowing your rights to see whether you have a valid defense.