What Happens If You Refuse A Breathalyzer Test

If you are requested to take a chemical test in the State of Indiana you need to take the test and fight about whether the request should have been made of you.  Indiana has the harshest penalties for refusing to take a chemical test in the United States.

In Indiana, a DUI, or an OWI, depends largely on the driver’s blood alcohol content. The driver’s BAC can result in, misdemeanor or even felony charges depending on the facts alleged. So it seems reasonable that refusing a breath test can help drivers avoid these issues.

That’s not quite true, in fact refusing to partake in testing can come with some serious consequences. To help understand and contest these consequences, you need to hire drunk driving defense attorney Chuck Rathburn to help you through these issues.

First, What Is Implied Consent?

You might have heard of implied consent before, but just in case, here’s a simple explanation. When you have an Indiana license or a license from another state and drive upon Indiana roadways, under Indiana law, you implied that you consent to chemical testing. The testing can include blood, urine, and the most common, breath.

When you refuse a breath test, you are in violation of implied consent.  If the officer smells alcohol while interacting with you, you are going to be taken into custody. Refusal of a breath test will almost always result in a suspension of your driving privileges for either one or two years depending on your driving history and you will not qualify for any specialized driving privileges during that time.  Plus you will likely be arrested anyway.

So what happens then? After your arrest, you would be processed at the jail and held until you posted bond or saw a judge. A cop will confiscate your license, and it’s likely they will seek a warrant to take blood to determine your BAC. In Indianapolis, IN you no longer have the option to get a hardship license, called specialized driving privileges either.

Does a Field Sobriety Test Satisfy Implied Consent?

If you submit to a field sobriety test and the roadside breath test that does not satisfy implied consent. In fact, you can and should refuse to perform a field sobriety test with zero consequences. It is the rare occurrence when your field sobriety test may help your situation.

So you took the field sobriety tests and the roadside portable breath test that doesn’t excuse you from implied consent. However, there are a lot of rules that cops must follow when giving a sobriety test.

If a cop fails to follow any of these protocols, it could impact your case. Lawyers will often begin breaking down the cops behavior to ensure they handled your testing correctly.

What it comes down to is whether the cop had reason to pull you over and test you. Unfortunately, this won’t always impact the fact that you violated implied consent.

You Need a Drunk Driving Defense Attorney Right Away

If you refused a breath test, then you need a DUI Attorney in Indiana immediately. Request access to a lawyer before you answer anyone’s questions. Be careful not to admit guilt to anything before a DUI lawyer gets there.

A lawyer can help dive further into the circumstances of your arrest. They may question whether there was probable cause to pull you over in the first place. A lawyer in IN will also have more advanced knowledge of what options you have available.  Refusing a test will not help you avoid jail or avoid a DUI.

How Can An Indianapolis DUI Lawyer Help With The Consequences?

An Indianapolis DUI lawyer can explain the consequences and help you through your next legal steps.

The consequences can include:

  • Suspension of your license
  • Restriction or inability to access certain driving privileges
  • Conviction of a crime.

A DUI lawyer is your best chance at fighting some of these consequences. Since every case is different, it’s important to talk directly with a lawyer. These factors and consequences may be different for you than someone else in a similar situation.

Suspension and Driving Privileges

The suspension on your license would be an administrative suspension. Typically, these suspensions can last for a year or two. Whether the suspension is for one or two years depends on if you’ve had prior convictions or refusals.


If one is convicted of one of Indiana’s DUI laws, there are fines, costs, and probation user fees that will be owed in addition to potential jail time. Depending on the level of the offense charged, there could be fines up to $10,000.00

Get Help Today

A DUI charge can follow you for a long time and impact many areas of your life including your job and travel.

Call an Indianapolis DUI lawyer at Rathburn Law Office at 317-671-8965 for help navigating your DUI case. You can contact us, and a Charles Rathburn will go over your case options with you.