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Can motorists in Indiana refuse to submit to a breath test?

Being pulled over by the police while you are driving can be intimidating for anyone. Most people do not want to get ticketed -- or worse, arrested -- if they believe they have done nothing wrong. This is especially true when it comes to allegations of drunk driving offenses, particularly since the consequences of such charges are so severe.

When police in Indiana believe a motorist is operating while intoxicated and they ask the motorist to submit to a breath test, the motorist might not want to do so. However, motorists should be aware of what actions may be taken against them should they refuse to submit to chemical testing.

Indiana, like other states in the nation, has what are known as "implied consent" laws. Basically, this means that in exchange for the privilege of driving, motorists implicitly agree to submit to a chemical test when asked to by police who have probable cause to believe the motorist is intoxicated. If a motorist refuses to do so, their driver's license could be revoked for 12 months. If motorists have a prior OWI conviction, then their license may be revoked for 24 months.

So, it is important to understand that refusing to take a breath test has consequences. Motorists will want to carefully weigh the pros and cons of refusing a breath test when asked to do so. While a person who is convicted of OWI can face the loss of their driver's license, fines or even incarceration, merely refusing a breath test could also result in negative consequences. Motorists who are wondering whether it is worthwhile to refuse to take a breath test will want to take these matters into account before making their decision.

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