My name is Corey Scott, and I am a criminal defense attorney here in Indianapolis. If you have ever had the experience of reading over your police report, you may have noticed the term, “implied consent.” I get asked about this term from time to time, and I am more than happy to explain implied consent and what it means for drivers in the State of Indiana.
To put it briefly, if you get behind the wheel and drive in the State of Indiana, you have implicitly given your consent to submit to breath tests, urine tests, and any other sort of test that would be used to determine your level of impairment. Implied consent is the term used to describe the understanding that if you choose to drive, you have inherently given your consent to such tests.
This is not any fun to imagine, but say you were involved in an accident. If this accident resulted in serious property damage, or if God forbid, it turned out to be a fatal accident where someone lost their life, police have probable cause to investigate whether impairment played a role in said accident. Just by virtue of driving back and forth on the highways and streets of Indiana, you have agreed that if any accident does go down, you are willing to submit to testing.
How does implied consent play out in real life, though?
Let's say that you are involved in accident and police observe signs that lead them to believe you are under the influence. This could be anything from your behavior, to the circumstances of the actual incident. Perhaps they can smell alcohol on your breath, or there is something in the car that gives them probable cause. If they have probable cause, police will ask whether you are willing to submit to testing. There is a little card that they are supposed to take out in these situations and read to you, called the implied consent law. They go down the card and let you know that if you gave implied consent and refuse to submit to testing, you will automatically be penalized with a one-year driver's license suspension.
This can be a very serious consequence, as we all need to be able to get back and forth to our destinations. Understand that if you are driving a car on the streets of Indiana, you have implicitly given your consent that if something were to occur, and there is probable cause for you to submit to testing, that you will do so. If you don't, then there is a stiff penalty to be paid in the way of a one-year license suspension.
If you have any questions about implied consent, please give me a call or send me an email. I am always more than happy to talk with you. Until next time, remember, if you have to be guilty of anything, be guilty of greatness. Take great care.