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Alcohol Enforcement Unit

The Michigan Department of State Police, Alcohol Enforcement Unit, is responsible for the administration of the state's breath alcohol testing program, including the development and implementation of training programs. The programs provide guidelines for training state and local jurisdictions having traffic safety and law enforcement responsibilities. The department intends that the programs be of the highest quality and that they address the high-priority training needs of agencies that provide highway safety services.

The Alcohol Enforcement Unit conducts operator training statewide on evidential and preliminary breath alcohol test instruments and maintains training records for all evidential instrument operators in Michigan. It is also responsible for supplying and maintaining evidential breath alcohol testing instruments. In addition, it acts as a clearing house for alcohol-related information, either supplying answers or making connections to other avenues needed for obtaining the requested information.

Evidential Breath Alcohol Testing

The BAC DataMaster breath alcohol test instrument was chosen in Michigan based upon a careful evaluation of all instruments available. It is manufactured by National Patent Analytical Systems, Inc., of Mansfield, Ohio, and the operating principle of the instrument is based on infrared absorption. Infrared technology as applied to breath alcohol testing had its origin in the early 1980s. The BAC DataMaster evolved through the years to its present state-of-the-art instrument with expanding computer capabilities.

DataMasters are located at most sheriff departments around the state, and some local departments have purchased their own. All instruments are serviced by manufacturer representatives approved by the department under a maintenance contract. The BAC DataMaster is the test instrument used for evidential breath alcohol tests.

Preliminary Breath Alcohol Testing

Currently the Alco-Sensor III is the primary preliminary breath alcohol test instrument used in Michigan. It is manufactured by Intoximeters, Inc., of St. Louis, Missouri. The Alco-Sensor III is a light-weight, hand-held, portable stand-alone instrument which uses a fuel cell sensor that operates on the principle of electro-chemical oxidation. This means that the fuel cell reacts with alcohol in the breath to produce an electrical current, with the amount of current generated being proportionate to the amount of alcohol.

Most departments have at least one Alco-Sensor III available for use by road officers, and some departments equip all road patrols with one.

The Alco-Sensor III is used for preliminary breath alcohol testing.

Alcohol Laws Summary

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)

A person, whether licensed or not, shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, within this state if either of the following applies:

1) The person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor, a controlled substance, or a combination of intoxicating liquor and a controlled substance.
2) The person has an alcohol content of 0.08 grams or more per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath, or per 67 milliliters of urine.
3) The person's ability to operate the motor vehicle is visibly impaired due to the consumption of alcoholic liquor, a controlled substance, or a combination of alcoholic liquor and a controlled substance.

Impaired Driving

A person, whether licensed or not, shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, within this state when due to the consumption of an intoxicating liquor, a controlled substance, or a combination of an intoxicating liquor and a controlled substance, the person's ability to operate the vehicle is visibly impaired.

Zero Tolerance

A person who is less than 21 years of age, whether licensed or not, shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, within this state if the person has any bodily alcohol content.  Any bodily alcohol content means either of the following:

1) An alcohol content of 0.02 grams or more but less than 0.08 grams per 100 milliliters of blood, per 210 liters of breath, or per 67 milliliters of urine.

2) Any presence of alcohol within a person's body resulting from the consumption of alcoholic liquor, other than consumption of alcoholic liquor as a part of a generally recognized religious service or ceremony.

Operating With The Presence Of Any Drug (OWPD)

A person, whether licensed or not, shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, within this state if the person has in his or her body any amount of a controlled substance listed in schedule 1 under section 7212 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.7212, or a rule promulgated under that section, or of a controlled substance described in section 7214(a)(iv) of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.7214.

Transport/Possess Open Liquor in a Motor Vehicle

A person shall not transport or possess alcoholic liquor in a container that is open or uncapped or upon which the seal is broken within the passenger compartment of a vehicle upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles, including an area designated for the parking of vehicles, within this state.

Open intoxicants in a limousine are subject to special provisions. Open alcohol may be transported in the passenger compartment, where separated from the driver, in a bus or limousine that is licensed with the Michigan Department of Transportation as a chartered vehicle.

Possess/Consume Liquor by Minor

A person less than 21 years of age shall not purchase or attempt to purchase alcoholic liquor, consume or attempt to consume alcoholic liquor, or possess or attempt to possess alcoholic liquor.