Michigan Criminal Lawyer, Josh Jones

Preliminary Roadside Analysis – HouseBill 5385 – Drunk Driving Law Update

New Preliminary Roadside Analysis – Drunk Driving Law Update

Effective January 12, 2015, the State of Michigan will have a new law controlling drunk driving cases. Governer Synder signed the bill October 14, 2015. The new law amends the pre-existing drunk driving statute, changing the way arrests can and will be performed here in Michigan. The new law creates a new term known as “preliminary roadside analysis.”

It seems, after reading the newly enacted statute, that this preliminary roadside analysis will replaced field sobriety tests and roadside preliminary breathe tests. The new law allows the officer to choose which investigative techinque to pursue within a drunk driving case by use of the preliminary roadside analysis. Furthermore, and an additional change to the pre-existing law, the refusal of a preliminary roadside analysis is not unlawful and an individual can be additionally charged for the refusal.

Pre-existing law only allows an officer to require a person only to submit to a preliminary roadside breathe test if the officer had reasonable cause to believe that the person was operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated or impaired. However, the new law expands the requirement new ?preliminary roadside analysis? term and essentially replacing the term ?preliminary chemical breath test?.

The new law and term (preliminary roadside analysis) applies to all forms of drunk driving cases and is used for investigating whether the individual is operating the motor vehicle under:

(a) Alcoholic liquor.

(b) A controlled substance, as that term is defined in section 7104 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.7104.

(c) Any other intoxicating substance, as that term is defined in section 625.

(d) Any combination of the substances listed in subdivisions (a) to (c).

It is apparent that the new law signficantly changes the course of events and circumstances that will now occur within drunk driving case. Under pre-existing, field sobriety tests were used in part to obtains facts to support a ?reasonable cause? determination, which is then used to allow the police to search to request a preliminary breath test. Technically speaking, this new term and law takes away the need to first obtain reasonable cause before providing a roadside preliminary breathe test.

Furthermore under pre-existing law, an officer must advise the driver that failure to take a preliminary breath test is a violation of Michigan law, so the driver can then make a choice to take such a test or risk the punishment for refusal. However, this leads to questions that must be answered at some point in time, such as  “must the officer advise of such pentaly under the new law?” or “if the driver refuses to submit to preliminary roadside analysis will this be admissible before a jury?”

Ultimately, these questions and many more will not be answered until the new law becomes effective and the first drunk driver is arrested under the new law. It will be interesting to see how these matters will be handled by officers and the court system. Various issues will arise, which means that a criminal defense attorney will become even more necessary. Remember, know the law, maintain your rights, and lawyer-up. Josh Jones has your back 7-days a week and is only a phone call away. Call today for your free consultation.