If you are pulled over, and a police officer suspects you of operating your vehicle under the influence of alcohol, that officer can request that you take a breathalyzer test to confirm their suspicions. The officer must first establish probable cause to require you to take a breathalyzer test. This is accomplished based on a visual inspection of the suspect. Glassy eyes, the smell of alcohol, or slurred speech are all probable cause to require a breathalyzer test.
In Indiana, there are two methods for establishing that an individual is drunk at the wheel. These include field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests. You are allowed to refuse a field sobriety test with no consequences to you. However, you cannot refuse a breathalyzer test without consequences. In other words, you are required by law to take the breathalyzer test or suffer the consequences of your refusal. The Indiana OWI attorneys at Chris Arrington, Attorney at Law, P.C., will discuss breathalyzer tests and what happens when you refuse to take one.
A Driver’s License is Considered Implied Consent to Take a Chemical Test
“Implied consent” is the rule of law in Indiana. This means that if you are arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, you must agree to take a chemical test administered by the officer. In most cases, this will be a breathalyzer test. However, they can also analyze your blood or urine. These tests analyze how much alcohol is in your bloodstream using various methods. If you have a BAC of .08 or greater, you are considered drunk under the law.
Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test
You can refuse to take a breathalyzer test, but this will trigger other legal consequences against you. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, your license will be automatically suspended for at least one year from the date of your refusal. If you have a prior OWI on your record, your license will be suspended for two years.
You Can Still Be Arrested Without Taking a Breathalyzer Test
An officer is not going to let you drive home simply because you refuse to take a breathalyzer test. They may arrest you anyway on suspicion of OWI. The officer will assume your refusal is evidence that you have been drinking. Refusing a breath test is in and of itself probable cause to arrest you.
You Can Still Be Charged With OWI After Refusing a Breath Test
The arresting officer may still charge you with OWI even if you refuse a breath test. In court, they can use evidence of your demeanor to establish a circumstantial case that you were drunk behind the wheel. This is how OWI was proven before breath test technology was developed.
Talk to an Indiana OWI Defense Lawyer Today
Chris Arrington represents the rights of those who are facing OWI charges in Indiana. Call our office today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin devising your defense strategy right away.