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The Indiana Implied Consent Law

The Indiana implied consent law can be found in Indiana Code 9-30-6. Generally, this law states that any person who chooses to operate a vehicle in Indiana is gives their consent to submit to a certified chemical test. However, a law enforcement officer can only offer the person the opportunity to take a chemical test if they have probable cause to believe that they are in violation of Indiana’s drinking and driving laws

Typically, probable cause is established by first providing a portable breath test, otherwise known as a breathalyzer, or administering a field sobriety test. If the person fails these tests or refuses a breath test, the officer will then read Indiana’s implied consent warning and offer them a certified chemical test. From there, a person’s choices are rather clear: they can take the certified chemical test or refuse the test, which will likely result in an automatic one-year license suspension. 

Have further questions about Indiana implied consent law or drunk driving, in general? The Indiana drunk driving attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are available to assist you. Our founding partners are former Fatal Alcohol Crash (FACT) prosecutors who truly understand the intricacies of these laws and provide our clients with effective, dynamic defense strategies aimed at securing the best possible outcome in the case against them. Call us today at 317-751-7186 or complete our online contact form to schedule your free consultation. 

Drunk Driving in Indiana

Indiana’s Drinking and Driving Laws 

Before you can fully understand the Indiana implied consent law, it’s best to first understand Indiana’s driving under the influence laws. Indiana Code 9-30-5-1 states that, when operating a vehicle, the legal limit for alcohol in Indiana is .08% blood alcohol concentration or breath alcohol concentration. Typically, this is measured using a breathalyzer.

When a person is caught in violation of this law, but their blood or breath alcohol concentration is less than .15%, they can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor in Indiana. However, if they’re found to have a concentration over .15%, or it’s determined that they are operating their vehicle in a manner that endangers a person, they can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. 

It’s important to understand that you can also get a felony DUI in Indiana as well. Indiana Code 9-30-5-3 states that a person who violates the Indiana drinking and driving laws can be charged with a Level 6 felony if they have a prior conviction of operating a vehicle while intoxicated within the past 7 years; caused the death of a law enforcement animal; or they’re over the age of 21 and operated the vehicle with a passenger under the age of 18. Furthermore, if the person has a previous conviction of operating a vehicle while intoxicated that resulted in death, catastrophic injury, or serious bodily injury, they can be charged with a Level 5 felony.

Drunk Driving in Indiana

 

When you’re pulled over by a police officer who suspects you of drunk driving in Indiana, they will employ a variety of investigative techniques to determine whether you have been operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances, or drugs. First, they will evaluate the conversation they initiate with you; are you slurring your words? does the officer detect the odor of alcohol on your breath? does the car smell like a controlled substance? These types of clues will allow the officer to determine whether or not they should perform a blood or breath alcohol concentration test.  

Probable Cause in Indiana, as related to Implied consent in Indiana

If the officer decides to perform a BAC test, it will most likely be done using a portable breathalyzer test (also known as a PBT). The results of this test are not admissible in court, and you do have the right to refuse a breath test, as well as any other field sobriety test, without any consequences. However, that can all change if they proceed to request a certified chemical test and read you a warning in order to comply with the Indiana implied consent law.

Indiana Implied Consent Warning: “I have probable cause to believe that you have operated a vehicle while intoxicated. I must now offer you an opportunity to submit to a certified chemical test and inform you that your failure to submit to a chemical test will result in the suspension of your driving privileges for one (1) year. If you have a prior conviction, your driving privileges will be suspended for two (2) years. Will you now take a test?” 

Once a law enforcement officer has read you the implied consent warning, you two have options: take the certified chemical test or refuse the certified chemical test. However, unlike the breathalyzer test or any other field sobriety test, if you decline to the certified chemical test, you will likely face at least a one-year suspension of your Indiana driver’s license. In addition, “refusal suspensions” are not eligible for specialized driving privileges. This means that there will be no driving privilege exceptions so that you can commute to work, school, or shuttle the kids around to their daily activities.  

Finally, it’s important to know that even if you do refuse the certified chemical test, the law enforcement officer can still seek a search warrant to have your blood drawn and tested at a local hospital. While it may seem cumbersome for an officer to get a search warrant right then and there, it’s really not these days. Many law enforcement officers can simply obtain telephonic or electronic warrants in a matter of minutes. If the search warrant is granted, the test is conducted in a timely manner, and a proper foundation is established in court, the results of this blood test will be admissible in court. 

Penalties for Drunk Driving Per Indiana Law 

If you’ve been charged with a DUI after submitting to a certified chemical test per the law of implied consent in Indiana, you should speak with an experienced Indiana criminal defense attorney immediately. The penalties for a DUI arrest in Indiana are harsh and restrictive, and it would best to begin building your defense as early as possible.  

Even for a first-time DUI arrest in Indiana, the penalties could be as harsh as one-year in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, two years of Indiana probation. and the suspension of your Indiana driver’s license. However, those convicted of their second or third DUI arrest, face even more severe punishment, including up to 2.5 years in jail, $10,000 fine, 2+ years of probation, the suspension of your driver’s license, and possibly, court-ordered participation in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program. In addition, if you are deemed a habitual vehicular substance offender (HVSO) under Indiana Code 9-30-15.5-2, you’ll face further enhancements to your sentence. Depending on the circumstances, this could mean an additional 1-8 years in prison.  

If you’re reading through the criminal code, trying decipher the severity of the charges against you or understand implied consent in Indiana, you’d be better served by seeking the counsel of an experienced drunk driving attorney in Indiana. While there a handful of attorneys that will pop up when googling “criminal defense attorney near me,” you can always free to call the Indianapolis attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP.  

Our team of skilled litigators has received numerous accolades for DUI defense services, including for the high-quality representation we’ve brought to countless DUI clients. We stand ready to help you understand Indiana’s DUI laws and the severity of the charges you face. If retained, we will fight aggressively to reach the best possible outcome in the case against you, whether that is having the charges reduced or having your case dismissed altogether.  

If you need trusted representation, call Keffer Hirschauer LLP today at 317-751-7186 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. 

Summary
Indiana Implied Consent Law
Article Name
Indiana Implied Consent Law
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This article provides an overview of the Indiana implied consent law.
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Keffer Hirschauer LLP

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