Refusing to Submit to a Test When Pulled Over for a DUI/OWI: Advice from Attorney Mario Massillamany

Can you refuse to take a blood, breath, or urine test when you are pulled over? And if you can, should you refuse?  In short, yes you can refuse, but you probably should not due to the penalties for doing so.  In Indiana, when you operate a vehicle you are impliedly consenting to a chemical test as a condition to being able to drive a vehicle in the state.  In order to be in compliance with the implied consent provision, one must submit to each test offered by the police officer, not just to one of them.  Under Indiana law, the officer must inform you that refusal to submit to the tests will result in suspension of your driver’s license and allow you a chance to comply and take the tests.

The penalties for failure to submit to the tests differ based on whether you have had any prior convictions for operating a vehicle while intoxicated.  The initial failure to comply will result in an immediate confiscation of your license by the officer.  Eventually, the failure to comply will result in the suspension of your driver’s license.  If it is only your first offense, then refusal to submit to the tests would result in a one year suspension of your license.  However, if it is at least your second offense, then your refusal will result in losing your license for two years.

There are several other affects with regards to the refusal to submit to the tests.  One additional problem of refusal is that you will also be ineligible for specialized driving privileges, which means that there will be no way to be able to drive again until after the suspension of your driver’s license is up or has been lifted by the courts.  Another issue is that refusal to submit to the tests can be used as evidence in a case against you for operating a vehicle while intoxicated.  A final issue is that the police officer can still get a warrant to get the tests done anyway regardless of your refusal to consent.

In the end, the best option when you are drinking alcohol is to simply not drive by getting a designated driver, taking a taxi or Uber, or if possible staying somewhere near where you are drinking.  However, if you do find yourself being pulled over for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, it does not benefit you to refuse to take the tests.

 

Mario Massillamany is a founding partner of Massillamany & Jeter LLP, a full-service law firm serving central Indiana.  For more information on this topic, please contact Mr. Massillamany at (317) 432-3443 or by e-mail at: mario@mjattorneys.com.

 

This article is not intended to serve as legal advice.  Should you have questions about this topic, you should consult with a licensed lawyer.

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