With drunk driving on the decline and drugged driving on the rise, Michigan lawmakers have proposed legislation to curb these dangers on the road. Two laws passed in the Senate would allow police to conduct roadside saliva tests and make warrantless arrests based on their results. Both laws have stalled in the House Judiciary Committee.
Saliva Tests and Pilot Programs
A Michigan DUI defense attorney helps clients who have failed sobriety tests or refused to take tests when suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. Senate Bill 207, which passed 29-9, would allow officers with special training to arrest someone based on the results of a saliva test combined with suspicion based on erratic driving and impairment. Most tests would be admissible in court when there is a challenge to an arrest’s validity.
Senate Bill 434, which passed the Senate 28-10, would establish a pilot program for the saliva tests in five Michigan counties. Over the course of one calendar year, police departments with one officer considered an expert in drug recognition would be eligible to enforce the law in their jurisdiction. Data from the arrests and challenges to the law would determine whether the law was rolled out for all of Michigan.
Fourth Amendment Concerns
Detroit lawmakers expressed concerns about citizens’ rights under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution when objecting to the law. A Michigan DUI defense attorney is used to protecting clients from warrantless arrest, and the laws in question bring up some of the issues defense attorneys have had with other sobriety tests.
In the case of the proposed laws, drivers who refused the tests could be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor, as they currently can from a failed preliminary breath test (PBT). The Senate sponsor of the law said the saliva tests would be conducted in the same fashion as a PBT. Commercial drivers who refuse the test and are guilty of a misdemeanor may have their driving privileges revoked.
If you have been arrested for drunk or drugged driving, you need an expert Michigan DUI defense attorney to guide you through your defense. Contact Peter J. Johnson Law Office, PLLC, for the best representation in the greater Southwest Michigan area. For further information or to schedule an appointment please contact us at 269.982.1100 or visit www.AttorneyPeterJohnson.com.