As I discuss here, under Indiana’s “implied consent” law, when you get behind the wheel, you automatically consent to a chemical test to measure your blood alcohol content. While you can refuse to take such a test if you’ve been pulled over in Indiana for suspicion of Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (“OVWI”), the consequences of doing so include an automatic suspension of your license.
But if you believe that refusing the chemical test will prevent the authorities from obtaining potentially incriminating evidence as to whether or not you were intoxicated, you are deeply mistaken. Although the United States Supreme Court has ruled that police officers cannot physically force you to submit to a chemical test without a warrant, those warrants are becoming easier to obtain and are being issued with increasing frequency under “No Refusal” DUI testing programs used by an increasing number of states.
Under these programs, which are funded by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, law enforcement officers typically will set up checkpoints to identify drivers suspected of driving under the influence. Prosecutors and judges are on stand-by to quickly request and issue warrants, and nurses stand ready to draw blood at jails or even on the scene of the checkpoint once the warrant is obtained. Warrants can also usually be obtained even without such prearranged checkpoints, as many jurisdictions have judges on-call who can issue a warrant for a blood test when a driver is pulled over in the ordinary course.
States that currently conduct No Refusal testing programs include Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Texas and Utah. While Indiana has not begun conducting such organized no refusal checkpoints, it has the legal authority to do so, and drivers should be aware that they may find themselves on the receiving end of a blood test to determine their BAC whether they consent or not.
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