What is Implied Consent?
When you signed up to get your license in Indiana, you agreed that you will submit to chemical testing if requested by a law enforcement officer. This includes when you are stopped by a law enforcement officer and the officer has probable cause to believe that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Typically, an officer will ask you if you consent to taking a certified chemical test. This is a test usually taken at the Police station with a properly certified breathalyzer machine, not the portable breath test (PBT) given at the scene of the stop. If you refuse the certified breath test, even if you take the PBT, the officer will read the implied consent law from a card which states the penalty for refusing. If you refuse after being read the implied consent law, the penalty will likely result in your license being suspended for one year.
This license suspension will be for two years if you have a prior conviction for OWI/DUI. Even more problematic is that refusal suspension automatically disqualifies you from being eligible for specialized driving privileges (SDP) in Indiana. This is what most people know as a Hardship license. If your license is suspended and you need to drive to and from work, day-care for you children, or other essential travel, you can ask the court to grant you Specialized Driving Privileges. However, refusing to take a chemical test has serious consequences, including the loss of the right to seek specialized driving privileges, and you should contact an Indianapolis DUI lawyer to discuss your rights.
What is Chemical Testing?
Certified Chemical Testing typically comes in the form of a Chemical Breath Test. This is the large machine at the jail or police station that measures your BAC. Basically, you blow into the machine and it measures your level of intoxication based on your breath. This is not to be confused with the small hand-held Portable Breath Test (PBT) that the officer typically gives you on the side of the road!
Clients often wonder how the State will prove their intoxication if they refuse the Chemical Breath Test how? The answer is through a search warrant for your blood as the officers will apply for a warrant to draw blood if a refusal is given. The process for obtaining a warrant to draw blood, urine, or other bodily fluids for alcohol testing has increased over recent years. In fact, officers can now obtain telephonic or electronic search warrants to expedite this process. You should contact an Indianapolis DUI Lawyer immediately to schedule an initial consultation to discuss these issues.
DEFENSES TO INDIANA DUI LAWS
It can be extremely difficult to defend against a OWI/DUI and you should contact an experienced Indianapolis DUI lawyer to review your case.
Generally, challenging the initial stop of the vehicle can be the first step in defending against an Indiana DUI. By successfully challenging the stop, you increase your chances of any further evidence of intoxication being deemed inadmissible at trial. Police officers are not allowed to just stop a vehicle because they have a “gut instinct” that a driver is intoxicated. Instead, the police officer will need to justify the decision to stop a vehicle based on “reasonable suspicion” that a driver may be intoxicated. However, a stop can be based on the police officer simply witnessing a driver violate any of the Indiana traffic laws.
Another potential defense for OWIs/DUIs in Indiana are improperly conducted Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs). FSTs are nationally recognized tests that have a specific procedure and must be conducted in accordance with the prescribed standards. Some police officers have not received the proper training on conducting FSTs, and you should speak with an Indianapolis DUI lawyer to determine if this applies in your case.
Also, the chemical breath machine that you blow in to (the one at the jail or police station, not the PBT) needs to meet certain requirements. There are several factors that need to examined to ensure the results of the machine are admissible in court. For example, it needs to be properly serviced, it has to be calibrated, and the operator of the machine needs to be certified, just to name a few.
Finally, any blood, urine or other bodily fluids must be collected in accordance with specific procedures and protocols. Another potential defense to OWI/DUIs in Indiana arises if those procedures and protocols were not followed when your sample was collected.
We recommend you immediately consult with an experienced Indianapolis DUI Lawyer to review the specific facts of your case.