On May 31, 2017, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed the suspension of a woman’s driver’s license for allegedly refusing to take a breath test. A state trooper had asked the driver to take a breath test for alcohol after she was stopped. The trooper believed she had failed the field sobriety tests and she agreed to take a breath test. After blowing in 3 times the machine continued to show “insufficient sample.” Even though the driver had been cooperative, the trooper declared she was refusing to take a breath test. At court the trial court found she refused and that decision was upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court in Hurley v. State of Indiana in a unanimous decision reversed the lower courts and held that the trooper had to follow the rules requiring other options including offering for her to test again after the insufficient sample. The court stated, “The trooper was required to administer a second test on this record because Hurley did not clearly manifest an unwillingness to take it.” The court went on to point out that this is not the case where a person puffs their cheeks and pretends to blow, which could result in a valid finding of refusal.
Under Indiana law any person driving a motor vehicle on the roads has impliedly consented to take a test for drugs or alcohol in their system if a police officer has probable cause to believe they are currently operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs pursuant to I.C. 9-30-6-9. If you refuse to take the test your driver’s license may be suspended for a period of one (1) year in addition to any suspension you receive if convicted of the underlying operating under the influence charge.
Prepared by Richard A. Mann of Mann Law, P.C. Attorneys at Law, www.rmannlawoffice.com