Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) refusal or a BAC DataMaster refusal is a distinct law and the penalties greatly differ regarding the two.

Preliminary Breath Test Refusal

A Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) is a handheld device, which is used to determine whether alcohol was involved from a breath sample. The test is offered by the police officer and is performed at the vehicle. The refusal to take a PBT is much less significant than the BAC DataMaster refusal. The refusal of a preliminary breath test is only a civil infraction and does not involve any separate criminal charges and does not involve any loss of drivers license.

Refusing a PBT is a civil infraction and may involve a fine up to $150. The penalties for someone under the age of 21 who refuses a PBT involve having 2 points added to their driving record.

BAC DataMaster Test Refusal

The DataMaster refusal is much more significant. The DataMaster involves a machine used to take a chemical test that determines your bodily alcohol content (BAC). The test is performed at the police station. The Michigan’s Implied Consent Law considers that all drivers have given their consent to the BAC DataMaster Test.

A conviction for a DataMaster refusal is a separate charge from the OWI charge.  Penalties involve:

  • Six points added to driver’s record
  • One year suspension of your drivers license (for first time refusal)
  • Two year suspension of your drivers license (for a second refusal)

If you have been charged with a BAC DataMaster refusal, time is of the essence. The police officer will provide you with a document advising you of your rights. On the back of the document is all the necessary information, as well as a place for you to sign your name and request a hearing with the Secretary of State. You have 14 days to request an administrative hearing to challenge the alleged refusal. The request for an administrative hearing must be sent in writing to the Secretary of State at the following address:

P.O. BOX 30196
LANSING, MI 48909-7696

At the hearing it will be determined whether the police officer had probable cause for the initial stop; whether the officer read you your chemical breath rights; whether the officer had probable cause for the arrest; and whether your refusal was reasonable. If you are unsuccessful at this hearing, you can then appeal to the Circuit Court in front of the Circuit Court Judge. The Judge can either restore your driver’s license or give you a restricted license.