Breathalyzer Test Refusal
If an officer wants to charge you with operating while intoxicated (OWI) by alcohol in the State of Indiana, he or she must have probable cause for doing so. This means having a reason for believing that your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit. There are two basic mechanisms for obtaining probable cause in such a situation, and these include field sobriety tests and the breathalyzer test (or another form of chemical test). While you have the right to refuse field sobriety tests, refusing a breathalyzer test can have serious legal consequences. If you’re facing an OWI charge, don’t put off consulting with an experienced Fort Wayne DUI defense attorney.
Your Driver’s License Serves as Implied Consent
The State of Indiana has an implied consent law in place regarding chemical tests like the breathalyzer that is triggered by having a driver’s license. As such, if you are stopped for driving under the influence, your implied consent to take a test that analyses your breath, blood, or urine is already in place.
Your Refusal and Legal Penalties
If you refuse a breathalyzer, you may get out of taking the test and, thus, may avoid providing the police with hard evidence against you, but you will face harsh legal penalties for your refusal, including:
- If you have no prior DUI conviction, your driver’s license can be suspended for one year.
- If you have a prior DUI Conviction, your driver’s license can be suspended for two years.
If this is the situation you find yourself in, you are entitled to a hearing within 20 days of your arrest, and it is in your best interest to work closely with a dedicated DUI defense attorney.
Not Taking a Breathalyzer Is Unlikely to Stop Your Arrest
Your refusal to take a breathalyzer test may be translated as clear evidence that you have been drinking, and that might be all the probable cause the officer needs to arrest you. If your strategy is to avoid the breathalyzer in order to avoid being arrested, it’s time to rethink your strategy.
The Police Don’t Need Breathalyzer Results to Charge You
If the officer who pulls you over believes that your speech, behavior, gait, demeanor, or anything else points to you being under the influence of alcohol, it amounts to circumstantial evidence of your allegedly impaired condition. This may be enough for the officer to charge you with DUI – despite your refusal to take a breathalyzer (which comes with legal consequences of its own).
Turn to the Professional Legal Guidance of an OWI Defense Attorney Today
If you are facing a DUI charge – whether you consented to a breath test or not – you need professional legal counsel on your side. Robert Bellinger at The Bellinger Law Office in Fort Wayne is a savvy DUI defense attorney with the experience, sharp legal insight, and drive you’re looking for. Our dedicated legal team is committed to helping you, so please don’t wait to contact us for more information today.