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What are the Penalties for Refusing a Breath Test in a DUI?

The answer depends on what type of test you are taking. During a DUI investigation the officer or officers may offer you two different types of breath tests. The first one is called a portable breath test or PBT. This is a handheld device that the officer usually keeps in his car and will offer you at the scene of the traffic stop. The second is called a certified breath test. This test is done at the end of the investigation on a larger machine that is kept at a police station.

In most cases the PBT, if used at all, will be given to you at the scene of the stop or accident after the field sobriety tests have been completed. There is no penalty for refusing this test and the results are not admissible in court. The officers use it simply to establish probable cause to offer you a certified test (breath and/or blood). There are no regulations in place for the calibration of the device or the training of the officers on how to use them.

If the officer believes he has probable cause that you were driving while intoxicated, he will offer you a certified chemical test. Before this test is done, the officer will read you what is referred to as the Indiana Implied Consent Law. This law states that when you get an Indiana Driver's License, you agree to submit to a certified test if one is offered to you by a police officer. Refusing to take this certified test does come with a penalty.

Refusing to take a certified breath test will result in your driver's license being suspended for one year if you have no prior DUIs. If you have any prior DUIs, your license will be suspended for two years. This suspension will be in addition to any suspension you receive if you are convicted of a DUI. Further, at this point, the officer can get a warrant to have your blood drawn at a hospital and tested for your blood alcohol content.

If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important to speak with experienced legal counsel. All of the attorneys at Keffer Barnhart LLP have experience handling DUI cases. Bradley Keffer was formerly the Marion County (Indianapolis) Fatal Alcohol Crash Team Prosecutor and is currently a member of the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD), Scott Barnhart has been recognized by the NAFDD as one of the Top 100 DUI Defense Attorneys in Indiana, and Chris Devlin was formerly a member of the Marion County Prosecutor's Office DUI Prosecution Unit.

If you have been arrest for or charged with a DUI, do not delay in seeking experienced DUI defense counsel and contact Keffer Barnhart LLP for a free consultation at 1-800-NOT GUILTY or (317) 857-0160.