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Can you refuse a blood, breath or urine test in Indiana?

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Too many people are under the impression that they have the right to refuse to consent to a breath, blood or urine test if an officer requests one of them. The truth is that while you do, refusal can and will come with consequences.

Indiana, like every other state in the union, has was it refers to as an “implied consent” law. Per this law, any person who operates a vehicle gives implicit consent to submit to a chemical test upon the request of an officer who has probable cause to believe that he or she has drugs or alcohol in his or her system. Implied consent laws also apply when a person is involved in an accident that results in the serious injury or death of one or more persons. According to Nolo, refusing a breath test can have significant consequences.

Administrative license suspension

Per state law, the Indiana Bureau of Motor vehicles must suspend your license if you unlawfully refuse to take a breath or chemical test when an officer requests one in good faith. The typical suspension period is one year, though the BMV may extend it to two if you have a previous OWI on your record. Upon refusal, the officer may revoke your license immediately, and the BMV will instate the suspension within seven days.

Ineligibility for the reinstatement of driving privileges

In a typical case, if the courts dismiss your OWI charges or find you not guilty of operating while under the influence, the BMV would reinstate your driving privileges. However, the bureau cannot legally do this if you refused to submit to chemical testing upon the officer’s request. What this means is that, regardless of the outcome of your OWI case, your driving privileges will remain suspended for one to two years.

Ineligibility for specialized driving privileges

In many cases, persons convicted of OWIs may obtain specialized driving privileges despite the BMV administratively suspending their licenses. Specialized driving privileges enable an offender to operate a motor vehicle during the period of suspension so long as the vehicle contains an ignition interlock device. If you refuse chemical testing, however, you become ineligible for these specialized privileges.

These are just a few consequences of refusing chemical testing when an officer requests it of you in good faith. If you refused a chemical test, it would be in your best interest to retain legal help.