Allen County's new Drunk Driving Protocol - be careful if you refuse a breath test

On September 6, 2012, the Allen County Prosecutor's Office announced a new protocol forDrunk Driving (DUI/OWI) investigations. A driver under investigation for Drunk Driving (DUI/OWI) who refuses to submit to a breath test will now be required to submit to a blood test, via a search warrant ordered from a judicial officer in Allen County.

Upon a refusal of a breath test, the police officer will begin filling out search warrant paperwork and then forward the paperwork to an on-call prosecutor. The prosecutor will then review the application for search warrant and forward it to a judicial officer for review. If approved by the judicial officer, the search warrant will require the driver to submit to a blood draw. The blood draw will be conducted by a nurse at the Allen County Jail. If a driver refuses to submit to the blood draw after the warrant has been issued, he or she could face a Contempt of Court charge. Contempt of Court is punishable by up to 180 days in jail.

Prior to this new protocol going into effect, drivers who refused breath tests were penalized by having a "breath test refusal" penalty on their driving records. This "refusal" suspension caused a one or two year driver'slicense suspension. I expect that drivers who refuse the breath test and later have a their blood drawn will still face the refusal suspension.

If you have questions about Drunk Driving, Breath Tests, License Suspensions, or other criminal defense issues, contactGregory A. Miller, a Fort Wayne Criminal Defense Lawyer, at (260) 833-7249.