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Implied Consent Law in Indiana

Under Indiana law, any person that operates a motor vehicle within the state impliedly consents to submitting to chemical testing to determine whether or not the driver is driving under the influence of prohibited substances.  This implied consent is a condition to exercising the privilege of driving within the state. The implied consent laws serve the dual purpose of encouraging motorists to voluntarily submit to chemical testing and to ensure that the state may gather the evidence it needs to keep Indiana’s roads and highways safe from intoxicated drivers.

There is no right of refusal under the implied consent laws. If a police officer offers a chemical test to a motorist, the motorist must comply with the test or risk having his or her license revoked by a court. Motorists should be aware that 5th Amendment right against self-crimination does not apply to DUI chemical testing and a motorist that has been arrested for driving while intoxicated does not have a right to the advice of counsel in determining whether or not to consent to a chemical test. Drivers should also be aware that if a motorist is taken to a hospital for the purposes of conducting a blood chemical test, the results of the test are not protected by doctor-patient privilege and may be turned over to the prosecution. The statute also provides that medical staff required to turn over the results of a chemical test may not be held liable for a violation of privilege. Thus, a defendant-motorist has no right to sue such medical staff for any alleged privilege violation.

There is no defense to a charge of a violation of the implied consent laws. Indiana courts have determined that the implied consent laws are civil, and not criminal in nature. Thus, there is no intent requirement to sustain a charge of failure to consent to chemical testing. Also, as a violation of the implied consent laws is civil in nature, prosecutors need only establish a failure to consent by a preponderance of the evidence—not the beyond any reasonable doubt standard in criminal cases. If a motorist is arrested for driving while intoxicated, the motorist does not have the right to substitute a blood test for a breathalyzer test or vice versa.

In order to establish in court that a motorist has refused a chemical test, the arresting officer must have conveyed to the driver a strong likelihood that the driver’s license would be suspended if he or she refuses to take the test. This may be achieved by the officer informing the driver that refusal to take the test results in the suspension of his or her license.

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