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OWI: what happens if I refuse a chemical test?

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

It can be stressful when a police officer pulls you over, even more so when they ask you to submit a chemical test because they believe you were operating the vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). If you are innocent, it may seem reasonable to refuse the test. However, declining the chemical test has its consequences.

Implied consent

In Indiana, everyone who drives a vehicle impliedly consents to submit a chemical test whenever a police officer asks for it. This means that taking a test when required is a condition to drive in the state. To ask for a blood or breath test, the police officer needs to have sufficient reason to believe that you were driving under the influence.

Refusing the chemical test

Because of the implied consent provision in the law, if you refuse to give a blood, urine or another bodily substance sample, you will lose your driving privileges. If a person refuses the test, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will suspend their driver’s license for a year. The person can also lose their driver’s license for two years if they had a previous OWI conviction. The police officer must inform the driver of these consequences before they can refuse to submit the chemical test.

Exceptions and time limits

The only circumstance in which a person does not have to submit a blood or urine sample is if they are unconscious. Otherwise, the person will need to take the chemical test. The authorities must administer the test no later than three hours after the officer asked for it.

OWI laws in Indiana

In Indiana, a person must have more than 0.08 percent of blood alcohol content for the court to convict them of an OWI offense. However, refusing the chemical test also has its consequences, which is why you should always submit it when required by the authorities.  After all, if you are innocent, your results will not come out positive for any substances, and you will be able to keep your driver’s license.