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What is the Indiana law related to breath test refusal?

Indiana drivers who are stopped by law enforcement to investigate whether the driver is under the influence or who have been in an accident might be under the impression that they have the right to refuse to take a breath test. This is a mistake. It is important for drivers to understand the law for breath test refusal and when there can be charges related to it.

When the officer believes that a driver is under the influence, there will be an offer of a breath test or a chemical test if there was an accident with serious bodily injury or fatality. There will be a chemical test in the following circumstances: the results show the presence of alcohol; the results do not indicate there was alcohol but the officer believes that the person is under the influence of a drug or other substance; or the person refuses to take the portable breath test. The officer can offer more than one test, but all must be given within three hours of the accident. An unconscious person does not need to receive this offer.

The tests must comply with the legal requirements in the state. For a bodily substance test, it must be given by a physician or someone who is trained in getting these samples if it is done via blood, urine or other substance; or there is chemical test on blood, urine or other substance. Failing to submit to the test when asked to do so will be lead to a charge of a Class C infraction. It will be a Class A infraction if: the person has a prior conviction for operating while intoxicated. The driver's license will be suspended for one year for violating this law. If the person has a minimum of one conviction for OWI, it will be for two years.

Drivers must know that they are required to submit to these breath tests and chemical tests if asked to do so and the circumstances warrant it. When facing these and any level of DUI charge, it is important to have a strong legal defense. Contacting a lawyer who is experienced in drunk driving is essential to formulating that defense.

Source:, "IC 9-30-7-3 Offer of test; administration of test; IC 9-30-7-4 Breath analysis; blood, urine, or other bodily substance; testing requirements; IC 9-30-7-5 Refusal to submit; penalties; suspension; proof of future financial responsibility," accessed on Aug. 21, 2017

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