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Facing a DUI charge in Indiana can be an overwhelming experience, especially when faced with the dilemma of whether or not to refuse a breath test. Understanding the legal intricacies involved, such as implied consent, is crucial to knowing the possible consequences of refusals. Through this blog, we will break down the Indiana statutes relating to implied consent and breath test refusals, the impact on your driving privileges, and the importance of hiring an Indiana DUI attorney.

Understanding Implied Consent

Under Indiana law, when you operate a vehicle, your consent to undergo chemical testing if an officer suspects you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol is implied. Indiana Code §§ 9-30-6-1 and 9-30-7-2, both outline this:

  • 9-30-6-1: “A person who operates a vehicle impliedly consents to submit to the chemical test provisions of this chapter as a condition of operating a vehicle in Indiana.”
  • 9-30-7-2: “A person who operates a vehicle impliedly consents to submit to the portable breath test or chemical test under this chapter as a condition of operating a vehicle in Indiana. A person must submit to each portable breath test or chemical test offered by a law enforcement officer under this chapter to comply with this chapter.”

Because Indiana is an implied consent state, refusing a blood or breath test triggers significant legal consequences.

The Consequences of Refusing a Breathalyzer

Refusing to submit to a breath test results in an automatic suspension of your driving privileges. First-time refusals result in a one-year suspension, while subsequent refusals extend the suspension period to two years. Indiana Code § 9-30-7-5 outlines the refusal consequences:

(a) “A person who refuses to submit to a portable breath test or chemical test offered under this chapter commits a Class C infraction. However, the person commits a Class A infraction if the person has at least one (1) previous conviction for operating while intoxicated.

(b) In addition to any other penalty imposed, the court shall suspend the person’s driving privileges:

          (1) for one (1) year; or

          (2) if the person has at least one (1) previous conviction for operating while intoxicated, for two (2) years.

(c) During the three (3) years following the termination of the suspension, the person’s driving privileges remain suspended until the person provides proof of future financial responsibility in force under IC 9-25.”

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