In Michigan, breath alcohol tests must be done in accordance with the procedures established by Michigan’s administrative rules. The rules are important, since an improperly administered breath test can have a devastating impact on your DUI/OWI case.
In Michigan, officers in every city are required to follow specific rules on how and when to properly give a breath test.
The 15-Minute Observation Period
An officer can only collect a breath sample after they have continuously observed you for 15 minutes. Why is this rule so important? Because a Breathalyzer test uses infrared spectroscopy technology to detect the presence of a methyl group in the molecules on your breath.
It sounds technical, because it is. What this means is that even the smallest trace of alcohol can be detected with a breath test.
For example, one small burp can transport trace amounts of alcohol from your stomach to your mouth, which is enough to cause a false reading on your breathalyzer test. There are other behaviors that the officer should be watching for as well, such as:
- using mouthwash, or
- placing anything in or near your mouth.
Doing any of these things 15 minutes prior to taking the breath test can cause an artificially higher BAC level. In fact, rinsing your mouth with mouthwash is one of the worst things you could do before taking a breath test because some brands contain up to 27% alcohol!
What Happens If You Violate the Rules for the 15-Minute Observation Period?
According to the administrative rules, if any of the above happens, the officer is required to wait and observe you for another 15 minutes before giving the test again.
Despite this requirement and the consequences of failing to follow it, some officers will still do paperwork, leave the room, or start the 15 minutes while driving to the police station after a drunk driving alcohol arrest. Catching an officer doing this may be grounds for suppression of the Breathalyzer test, which could mean dismissal of your driving while intoxicated case.
A good drunk driving attorney must know the rules and know how to find out if they have been broken. Other rules include weekly simulations, four-month calibrations and proper police officer training and certifications.
This is why strictly following the 15 minute observation period is absolutely essential for an accurate breath alcohol test result. If you have been charged with a drinking and driving offense and took a breath test at a police station in the Oakland, Wayne, or Macomb county communities of Royal Oak, Bloomfield Hills, Detroit, Warren, Troy, Sterling Heights or any surrounding area and want the best OWI DUI attorneys, contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Attorney Morris has enjoyed a very successful and distinguished career as a trial lawyer providing high quality legal representation in the area of state and federal criminal defense for 20 years. He is known for his trial preparation by fellow attorneys, judges and clients alike. As a trial attorney, he is dedicated to attaining justice in every case, and is prepared to take on complex legal issues with success. Barton and his law firm pride themselves on obtaining results for their clients that other attorneys cannot.
Not only does Barton Morris have extensive experience, he also engages in continuing legal education to provide the highest quality legal services. Barton has received specialized scientific training through the American Chemical Society. He attended the prestigious Trial Lawyers College and serves on its Alumni Association Board of Directors. Barton Morris is also a board member of several distinguished legal associations including the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys, and the DUI Defense Lawyer’s Association Justice Foundation. He is also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and has also graduated from their National Criminal Defense Trial College in Macon, Georgia.
Barton Morris was chosen as a Top Lawyer of Metro Detroit for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2019 and 2020 for DUI/DWI and criminal defense by DBusiness Magazine and Hour Magazine. Barton Morris was also chosen as a Super Lawyer in Criminal Defense for 2014-2020 and Barton Morris is the only Lawyer in Michigan designated by the American Chemical Society as a “Forensic Lawyer-Scientist”