There are many things that are great about Thanksgiving. Friends and family get together to enjoy turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Another common theme of Thanksgiving is alcohol consumption. Many people drink before, during, and after eating. The drinking doesn’t start on Thanksgiving either. In fact, the biggest bar night of the year in Michigan and Ann Arbor is the day before Thanksgiving. This is also one of the nights where police patrols are at their peak. Many people are arrested for drunk driving the day before Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving night.
So what do you do if you are arrested or pulled over on or before Thanksgiving? The first thing is to never admit to drinking. If you admit to consuming any beer, wine, or spirits that is enough probable cause for a law enforcement to further investigate whether you are drunk.
It is common for law enforcement to investigate by conducting roadside tests, a breathalyzer also known as a preliminary breath test, and asking questions to confuse you. There are several ways to go about this. One way is to decline to complete the roadside tests. The reasoning is that you are creating more evidence for an arrest and if you are arrested, then this will be used against you when a prosecutor is deciding to move forward with charges. These tests are also difficult to successfully complete even if you are sober or had very little to drink. These roadside tests can be unreliable, yet dangerous to your defense.
If you decide to complete a PBT or breathalyzer, then there is more evidence that can used against you in charging the crime. A PBT in itself is not admissible at trial, but it can be used against you as probable cause that you are intoxicated.
Some people decide to decline a PBT. This is not a bad idea because again you are giving the police less evidence to use against you. If you decline the PBT, then you will be issued a civil infraction for refusing this test. The civil infraction includes a fine.
If you are asked to do a PBT, the officer at this point probably believes they have enough to arrest you for suspicion of drunk driving and in most cases will arrest you regardless. Once you are taken to the police station, you will also be asked to another type of breathalyzer called a DataMaster. This one you cannot decline without serious consequences. If you decline the DataMaster or official breathalyzer at the police station, then you committed a crime that includes an automatic drivers license suspension that can be worse than dealing with the issue. To add insult to injury, the police then may get a warrant to draw blood and have a medical professional take blood to have it tested.
Remember that there are some days that area really bad to drink and drive, the day of and night before Thanksgiving are probably the night you’re most likely to have issues. If you are arrested for drunk driving in or around Ann Arbor, then call my office where we can discuss your case at no cost to see if I can help you. Be safe and have a great Thanksgiving.