If you have been pulled over by a police officer under the suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, the officer may ask you to submit to a Breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol concentration.
What is implied consent?
All states, including Indiana, have implied consent laws that apply to motorists. Under these laws motorists on the road implicitly consent to various tests to determine their level of intoxication. Some of these tests include:
- Field sobriety tests
- Chemical tests (e.g. blood, urine)
- Breath tests
Drivers can refuse a breathalyzer test
While implied consent laws require drivers to submit to testing when requested to do so, drivers can refuse the officer’s request to submit to testing. When a driver refuses a Breath test, prosecutors may have a difficult time establishing that they were driving under the influence. In other words, refusing a Breath test may give you the best chance at having your DUI charges dropped.
However, there are consequences to refusing a Breathalyzer. In Indiana, your license will automatically be suspended for one year, if you are a first-time offender. Drivers with prior OWIs/DUIs on their record will face a two-year license suspension.
It is also important to remember that refusing a Breath test does not mean you will not be charged with a DUI or OWI. The officer may have enough circumstantial evidence to prove that you were under the influence, even without Breath test results. Officers may use personal observations of your behavior and the circumstances, as well as field sobriety test results, to make their determination. That evidence may be enough for a prosecutor to get you convicted.
An attorney can defend you in your DUI case
Even if you submit to a Breath test, there are still many defense strategies that your attorney can use to help defend you against your DUI charges. For example, your attorney may argue the original traffic stop was illegal or that the Breath test was administered improperly. To come up with the most effective strategy for you, you may benefit from consulting with an attorney in your area as soon as possible.