In Indiana, officers arresting a person for Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated will generally inform the driver of Indiana’s Implied Consent Law. What is Indiana’s Implied Consent Law? I.C. 9-30-6-1 states that, “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.”
This means that if you are operating a motor vehicle you “consent” to taking a chemical or breath test that any law enforcement officer wants you to take once he or she has established probable cause that you may have been operating while intoxicated. (I.C. 9-30-6-2).
So what happens if you refuse to take the chemical test? First, you are looking at an automatic license suspension from the Indiana BMV of at least one (1) year. I.C. 9-30-6-9. In fact, this suspension can be longer depending on whether you have prior convictions for operating while intoxicated.
Does a refusal make the prosecutor’s case harder to prove?
Certainly having the ACE or BAC results that are certified certainly make the prosecutor’s case easier to prove than if the results are not present. However, the State does not have to do more than show that you operated the vehicle in an impaired condition. This can still happen without a chemical test. The officers will testify how you may have been operating the vehicle, whether you were slurring your words, your balance as you got out of the car, etc. This is even before you get to whether you took any of the Field Sobriety Tests.
If you have been charged with an OWI, contact me at 574-966-0433 to discuss your case.