Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is illegal in Indiana. A police officer can pull you over for the suspicion of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated or another reason, such as violating traffic laws. If the officer believes they have probable cause, they will begin a roadside DUI investigation, which can include Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) and a portable breathalyzer test.

Differences Between Preliminary Breathalyzer and Certified Breathalyzer Tests in Indiana

Police officers commonly use portable breath tests or preliminary breathalyzers as roadside sobriety tests. They are used to create probable cause for a DUI arrest. However, these test results are not admissible in court.

If the person’s BAC (blood alcohol content) exceeds the legal limit, the officer arrests them for DUI. However, an officer could still arrest someone for DUI even with a BAC over the legal limit if their driving is “impaired” by alcohol in their system.

A certified breathalyzer test is conducted after a DUI arrest in Indianapolis. Typically, the certified breathalyzer is taken with an Intoximeter EC/IR II machine at the police station. The results of a certified breathalyzer are admissible in court, provided the test complies with Indiana breathalyzer laws.

What Is the Law in Indiana Regarding Roadside Breathalyzer Tests and Certified Breathalyzer Tests?

When you apply for and receive an Indiana driver’s license, you agree to follow traffic laws, including DUI laws. Your implicit agreement includes consenting to a breathalyzer test if you are suspected of driving under the influence. This agreement is referred to as Indiana’s implied consent law.

When you are pulled over for DUI, the officer will question and observe you for signs of intoxication or drug use. The officer then requests that you take various field tests to determine if you are drunk, drugged, or sober.

You can refuse a roadside breathalyzer. However, the police officer will read the implied consent warning and request that you submit to a certified breathalyzer. If you refuse to take a certified breathalyzer test, your driver’s license could be automatically suspended for one year, and you may not be eligible for a hardship license.

An officer can make a DUI arrest without a breathalyzer test if they have other evidence for probable cause. Furthermore, the police officer may obtain a search warrant for a blood draw to test your BAC level. 

Requirements for Certified Breathalyzer Tests in Indiana 

Certified breath tests must comply with Indiana laws for breathalyzer tests to be admissible in court. Examples of the requirements for a certified breathalyzer test include:

  • The Intoximeter EC/IR II machine must be used to take a breath sample within three hours of when the person last operated the vehicle.
  • Monitor the person to ensure they have not had anything to drink or eat, smoked, or put any foreign substance in their mouth for 15 minutes before taking the breathalyzer test.
  • Follow the procedures for using the breathalyzer machine.
  • The officer must follow a specific alternate procedure if the machine returns an error message. 

Deviation from the procedures of collecting breath samples for a DUI test can make the breathalyzer test results inadmissible in court. An Indianapolis DUI defense lawyer may use a variety of breathalyzer defenses to challenge the results of a breath test in court. 

What Are the Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Indianapolis, IN?

The punishment for driving under the influence can be severe in Indiana. A first-time DUI conviction could result in DUI penalties that include:

  • Driver’s license suspension for 180 days up to one year
  • A fine of $500 for a BAC level of 0.08 to 0.15 and a fine of $5,000 for a BAC level of 0.15 or over
  • Jail time for 60 days to one year
  • Complete the required alcohol/drug assessment and treatment
  • Install an ignition interlock device
  • Community service

The judge might grant probation in some cases depending on the facts of the case and your criminal history. 

Repeat DUI offenders face many of the same penalties as first-time DUI offenders. However, the fines and jail time increase. 

For example, if you have had an OWI conviction in the past seven years, you could face up to 2.5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for another OWI conviction. Your driver’s license is suspended for up to years.

What Should I Do if I’m Arrested for DUI in Indianapolis, Indiana?

A DUI arrest is not a conviction. The state has the burden of proving that you violated Indiana DUI laws. As a result, your best step is to contact an Indianapolis DUI attorney as soon as possible. A DUI defense lawyer analyzes the evidence against you and investigates the arrest to gather evidence to build a defense. Presenting a strong defense can help you avoid a DUI conviction in Indianapolis.

Contact the Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers For Help Today

For more information, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers; give us a call today at (317) 759-2599 or visit us at our Indianapolis law office.

Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers – Indianapolis
101 W Ohio St #2000
Indianapolis, In 46204