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Refusing a breath test in Indiana: Is it worth the risk?

Operating a vehicle while intoxicated is a serious criminal offense in Indiana. If the police pull you over, you may be asked to take a breath test. While drivers have the right to refuse to take a test, you could face additional legal consequences and penalties if you do so.

Legal limit of intoxication

To understand why refusing a breath test can lead to penalties, it’s important to know what it is.

Law enforcement officers can use a breath test tool to measure a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) through a breath sample. If officers suspect that you are intoxicated, they will likely request that you take a breathalyzer test.

If the test shows you are over the legal limit of 0.08 percent, police will likely arrest you. That said, even if your BAC level is under the legal limit of 0.08 percent you can still face accusations of impaired driving if police believe you are not able to safely operate a vehicle.

Refusing a breathalyzer test

Considering how much is at stake when it comes to these roadside breath tests, many drivers choose to refuse them.

However, under Indiana’s implied consent law, you agree to take a test of breath, blood, urine, or any other bodily substances by simply operating a vehicle. If you refuse a breathalyzer test, your driving privileges may be suspended for one year.

It is also important to note that even if you refuse, law enforcement officers who suspect you of driving under the influence may still look for other signs of drinking, such as:

  • Erratic driving behavior
  • Slurred speech
  • Bloodshot or watery eyes
  • Odor of alcohol on the breath or clothing

Police officers administer breath tests to determine a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. While refusing these tests is your right, it does come with some risks. Knowing what these risks are can empower you to make informed decisions and understand your rights.