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Deputy’s lack of certification not an issue in suspension of license

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A Shelby County man’s refusal to submit to a chemical test for alcohol intoxication voided his argument that his driving privileges should be reinstated because the arresting deputy was not qualified to administer the sobriety test.

Brandon Schulze was taken to jail and lost his license after he told Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputy Ian Michael he would not take the chemical test.

Schulze then requested a hearing for Judicial Review of Probable Cause on Refusal of Chemical Test for Intoxication during which Michael testified he was not certified to operate the chemical testing machine at the local jail.

Using that admission, Schulze was able to convince the Shelby Superior Court that his driving privileges should be reinstated because the arresting officer could not perform the chemical test himself.

However, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed, finding the trial court erred in reinstating Schulze’s driving privileges in State of Indiana v. Brandon Scott Schulze, 73A01-1311-CR-471.

The panel pointed out that Ind. Code 9-30-6 does not require the arresting officer to be trained on how to administer the chemical test.

“Therefore Deputy Michael’s offer of a chemical test was not illusory simply because he was not qualified to administer such a test,” Judge Melissa May wrote for the court. “If Schulze had agreed to take the test, Deputy Michael could have found another officer at the jail who was certified to give a chemical test or could have transported Schulze to a hospital or other facility for the test. As Schulze refused to submit to a chemical test, there was not reason for Deputy Michael to find a qualified person or take Schulze to a qualified person.”

 
 

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  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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