The decision as to whether to submit to a breath test when investigated for a dui in Indiana is not always clear. In large measure, the answer depends upon the priorities of the individual questioned for drunk driving. Were I to have written this page a few years ago, I would have suggested refusing a breath test in Indiana if determined to go to trial. In so doing, those accused of drunk driving would not be voluntarily providing potentially incriminating evidence later submitted to allow for their later imprisonment.
However, due to the emerging statewide practice of securing blood draws in response to breath test refusals in Indiana, merely refusing to blow will not necessarily restrict the state’s ability to obtain alcohol readings of suspected drunk drivers as in prior years.
In the not too recent past, refusing a breath alcohol test in Indiana proved to carry evidentiary benefits for one determined to risk trial or face mandatory imprisonment. For example, for one potentially falling within the Habitual Substance Offender enhancement statutue (3 or more dui convictions) one might view the possibility of a lengthy license suspension for a refusal as secondary to a mandatory term of imprisonment if found guilty for the offense post trial.
In Indiana, there was simply no customary practice of mandating the invasive practice of blood draws through the mechanism of search warrants obtained in short order from judges on call for such an eventuality. Unlike other states where blood draw practice has not been as implemented on such a wide scale or has been undertaken without a search warrant (presently on appeal to the United States Supreme Court from a case in Missouri), Indiana’s present mandated scheme for obtaining blood alcohol results from suspected drunk drivers has thus far withstood judicial scrutiny.
As a result, for those whose motivation is to proceed to trial at all costs, the unenviable decision would need to be undertaken to refuse such a test and hope that you have been stopped within an Indiana county unaccustomed to securing judicially mandated blood draws, or have been stopped by an officer inexperienced in the practice. Unfortunately from vast experience in this area throughout the state of Indiana, I can state that the odds for success in this strategy have diminished with each passing year.
Ironically, with this in mind, for those desiring a trial at all costs, in some cases it may in fact be a more advantageous position to submit to a breath test. In so doing, a later attack can be mounted against the less reliable breath test findings than ensure that the more reliable blood draw results are obtained.
While each circumstance is different, the decision as to whether to submit to a breath test in Indiana should be made following a thorough review of the totality of information I have provided throughout this site. At the end of the day, please know that the information pertaining to refusal decisions in Indiana may be be contrary to the best strategy for one’s best defense in another state’s jurisdiction. Review all applicable state information and consult with a top defense attorney to be in the best position to secure the most complete answers possible.