Michigan OWI Evidence

Each year, thousands of Michigan residents are charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). If you were recently arrested for this crime, you may have questions about the type of Michigan OWI evidence that will be used against you. While you may assume failing a breath test will automatically lead to conviction, this is not always the case. In fact, an experienced OWI attorney may be able to limit the amount of evidence in your case, and help you fight your OWI charge.

BAC Testing

Breath tests are the most commonly used method of measuring a person’s BAC. Officers may use one of two mechanisms to administer the test: a portable breath testing device, or PBT, and a DataMaster. However, only one of these machines is approved for use in the state Michigan.

Many police officers use PBTs to administer breath tests at the arrest site. These handheld devices are designed to aid the officer’s investigation and help him or her determine whether a suspect should be arrested for OWI. PBT results are therefore inadmissible in court, and cannot be used as evidence against you. Be aware that, under Michigan’s Implied Consent Law, anyone who refuses to take a breath test will face criminal charges as well as a mandatory license suspension. These penalties apply to both PBTs and DataMaster devices.

If you are arrested for OWI, the officer may also ask you to take a second breath test once you arrive at the police station. Often referred to as evidentiary breath tests, the device used in this case is known as the DataMaster. Because the DataMaster is more reliable than PDTs, its results are admissible in court, and can be used against you.

While blood tests are less common than breath tests, they are actually the most reliable way to measure a person’s BAC. However, these tests are typically used only when the suspect was involved in an accident. Refusing to take a blood test is a felony offense.

The last type of chemical test used to measure a person’s BAC is urine testing. While this form is far less common than breath and blood tests, it is often used to determine whether a suspect is under the influence of drugs.

Building a Defense

If you were recently arrested for OWI and were given a breath, blood, or urine test, make sure you review your test results with an experienced defense attorney. The consequences of an OWI conviction are life-altering—you may face penalties such as probation, license suspension, and even jail time. However, an experienced defense attorney can challenge the evidence against you and, in many cases, help you avoid an OWI conviction. Contact attorney Patrick T. Barone today for your free consultation.