Breath Test - What happens if I refuse?


Occasionally, I have a client or potential client call and want to know what to do if they are stopped for Drunk Driving (DUI/OWI) or another traffic issue. Eventually, I'm asked "What happens if I refuse the breath test?" During a traffic stop, Indiana Code 9-30-6-2 requires a police officer to offer a chemical test for intoxication if the officer has probable cause to believe that the driver was operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

If the driver refuses to take a properly offered test, the penalty is severe. A driver who refuses will have their driving privileges suspended for one year, see Indiana Code I.C.9-30-6-9(A). The driver will likely also be arrested for Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (a/k/a Drunk Driving (DUI/OWI). If the driver has a previous conviction for Operating While Intoxicated, they face a two year suspension. As stated earlier, this is a severe penalty. Therefore, when deciding whether to take a certified test, a driver must consider whether they can live with a one or two year license suspension.

To add insult to injury, a driver cannot obtain a hardship license (sometimes called a probationary license) if they have refused a breath test. To make matters even worse, if a driver refuses a breath test and is then convicted for Operating While Intoxicated after having refused a test, the Court will order an additional license suspension. This Court ordered license suspension is in addition to the one (1) year or two (2) year administrative license suspension.

If you have questions regarding Breath Tests, Drunk Driving or Suspended Licenses, contact Gregory A. Miller, a Fort Wayne Criminal Defense Attorney, at (260) 833-7249