Indianapolis DUI & OVWI Implied Consent Attorney
If you are stopped for suspicion of DUI or OVWI (operating while intoxicated), you will more than likely be offered a breath test or blood test. However, before the officer can have you perform the test, you must be read the DUI implied consent law. Without this step, the test may be invalid. But what is implied consent and what does it mean for you and your driving privileges?
What is DUI Implied Consent?
Under Indiana law (I.C. 9-30-6), when you obtain a driver’s license, you give consent to submit to chemical testing if the police have probable cause to believe you are operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
I.C. 9-30-6-1 states that a person “who operates a vehicle impliedly consents to submit to the chemical test provision of this chapter as a condition of operating a vehicle in Indiana.” In other words, when you get a driver’s license in Indiana, you agree to submit to a chemical test if an officer has probable cause to believe you are driving drunk or intoxicated. If you refuse, there are consequences, including the loss of your driving privileges.
Further, if a police officer has probable cause to believe that you operated a vehicle while intoxicated(I.C. 9-30-5), the officer shall offer the driver the opportunity to submit to a chemical test. This test must be given within three hours of suspected intoxicated driving. The police officer is also allowed to offer more than one test. However, they are not required to offer it to an unconscious person. (I.C. 9-30-6-2).
DUI Implied Consent – What Happens When the Officer Offers a Chemical Test?
If the police officer has reason to believe you are driving drunk and wants you to submit to a DUI breath or blood test, he or she must first read you the implied consent law.
The officer will often read from a pre-printed card that may state something similar to the following:
“I have probable cause to believe you’ve operated a vehicle while intoxicated. I must now offer you the opportunity to submit to a chemical test and inform you that your refusal to submit to a chemical test will result in the suspension of your driving privileges for one year. Will you now take the chemical test?”
If you agree to submit to the chemical tests being offered, the officer or person performing the tests must follow strict guidelines and will instruct you at each step of the test.
If the driver does not consent to the test, refuses the test or the officer is not able to get an answer from the person, that can be considered a refusal of the chemical test, and certain consequences kick in. Under I.C. 9-30-6-3, a chemical test refusal is admissible as evidence at trial. Additionally, a person’s driving privileges will be suspended for one year for the first refusal and two years for a subsequent refusal.
Knowing this, why would anyone refuse a DUI chemical test? Often, people believe that if you refuse, you are helping your case by not giving the state any additional evidence against you. However, if you do refuse, the police officer will often request a warrant for a blood draw, so they will get the evidence anyway. Then, because you refused, your license will be suspended for at least one year and the fact that you did refuse can now be entered as evidence against you. In other words, it is usually not helpful to refuse. In any event, an experienced attorney will be able to look for errors in these tests and possibly challenge their reliability later on, if necessary.
Julie Chambers – DUI Attorney & Former Deputy Prosecutor
If you have been arrested for DUI or OVWI and have questions about the DUI implied consent laws, your driver’s license or need representation in a DUI criminal case, Chambers Law Office can help. Julie Chambers is a former deputy prosecutor in Marion County, giving her a unique perspective in defending her clients. Contact Chambers Law Office today to discuss your case!<