What is “Implied Consent”?

In Indiana people who operate motor vehicles have given their “consent” to take chemical tests for intoxication.  While most people have not explicitly stated, “I consent to a chemical test” the consent is implied by the very fact a person operates a vehicle on an Indiana roadway.

In order to be given a chemical test for intoxication a police officer must have probable cause to believe that a person has operated a vehicle while intoxicated.  While a police officer cannot randomly require chemical tests to people operating a vehicles, the threshold for probable cause is very low.  In some instances probable cause can be established because an officer’s belief he smelled the “odor of alcoholic beverages.”

When a police officer chooses to give a person a chemical test he will read Indiana’s implied consent law from a card.  When the police officer is finished he will ask the person if they will take the chemical test.  If the person agrees then most likely the officer will administer the chemical test at a police station.  The test will reveal a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC).  The BAC, in addition to the police officer’s other observations will determine whether or not the police officer arrests a person for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVWI).

If a person does not agree to take the certified chemical test there are serious consequences.  There will be an automatic one year driver’s license suspension if the person has no prior DUI / OVWI convictions.  If the person has a previous DUI / OVWI conviction the suspension will be for two years.   These suspensions go into effect even if there is no conviction.  On top of this the police officer will more likely than not obtain a warrant to have that person’s blood drawn at a hospital.  This blood draw will then reveal the BAC.

If you are dealing with a situation where you refused a chemical test it is very important to get an experienced attorney who can help you with these complicated license issues.  For the most part, Indiana is not set up for mass transportation and having a driver’s license be suspended for one to two years will result in significant financial and family strain.  Attorney Marc Lopez can help. Call him today at  (317) 632-3642 or contract him through e-mail.

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