If you have been arrested or charged with a suspicion of an OWI or ior(driving under the influence, drunk driving) or any other alcohol-related driving offense, you need to contact an Indianapolis DUI attorney immediately to properly protect your rights.
No DUI Case is the Same
Though it may seem like every DUI case is the same that just is not the case. That couldn’t be anything further than the truth. The government does have strong and compelling evidence, generally speaking. In most situations the government has breathalyzer results or blood test taken in the that proves your guilt. Some of the penalties you may face if you are convicted of a suspicion of a DUI include:
- Large fines
- Drivers license suspension
- Drug and alcohol classes
- Having with a criminal record that can affect your career and your life.
Experienced Indianapolis DUI Defense lawyers know how to change all that.
What is Driving Under the Influence?
In the State of Indiana, the courts officially use the term “operating while intoxicated” (OWI) instead of “driving under the influence” (DUI). There are still some people still that use the term DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated) to refer to driving under the .
Indiana’s OWI/DUI Laws
Indiana’s OWI laws prohibit all motorists from operating a vehicle:
- With a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more
- With any amount of a Schedule I or II controlled substance in their system, or
- While actually intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.
Controlled Substances Can Easily Cause Impairment
The extensive list of controlled substances under the Schedule I and Schedule II classifications includes opiates, hallucinogenic drugs, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine.
Indiana also has a “zero tolerance” law that makes it illegal for underage drivers (those under 21 years old) to operate a vehicle with a BAC of .02% or more.
If drivers continue to find themselves facing DUI charges. The causes for this are as varied and unique as the people of the state themselves. Let’s face it, many times, good people simply make mistakes they did not realize they were just above the legal limit for blood alcohol level, or they did not have another ride, or any number of other reasons put them behind the wheel.
Regardless of what led to the DUI charge, dealing with a DUI can be an extremely stressful situation. It’s important that have an Indianapolis OWI lawyer on your side. A DUI comes with a number of serious consequences. Even if you are a first-time offender of the Indiana DUI/OWI laws, you are facing some very severe consequences.
Drivers must address the legal aspects of the DUI charge. even first-time offenders. The consequences can include:
- Loss of license
- Potential loss of professional license
- Jail time
- Loss of vehicle
- Ignition interlock installation
- Mandatory DUI classes
In addition to the legal consequences, a DUI can negatively impact other aspects of your life, as well. A conviction can cause personal embarrassment, difficulty finding or maintaining employment, financial hardship, have consequences on your professional license, and more.
What Does the Prosecution Need to Convict Someone of Driving Under the Influence?
- You drove a motor vehicle, and you were physically under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time you drove.
- You drove a motor vehicle, and at the time you drove, you had a 0.08% or more BAC
The results of the breath or blood test performed on the suspect, along with the suspect’s criminal history and whether there were any injuries or fatalities will determine the seriousness of the DUI charges. It is important to know that while you may have gotten a reading on a test over the legal limit of 0.08%, you can still successfully be defended against DUI charges.
Consequences of a DUI Conviction
First Time DUI Conviction
The first DUI conviction is treated as a Class C misdemeanor. In Indiana, there is no mandatory counseling and the driver does not automatically lose his or her license unless he or she refused chemical testing.
This does not mean the first time OWI conviction comes with no consequences. Aside from any fines resulting from committing a misdemeanor, if you are convicted of a DUI for the first time, you have a permanent mark on your record. You can expect that your next DUI charge will be tried as a second-time DUI.
Second Time DUI Conviction
The second DUI conviction comes with a mandatory five-day jail sentence or an 180-day community service requirement. There may also be a counseling requirement added to any other restrictions. Additionally, a second DUI could be treated as a felony.
Third Time DUI Conviction
The consequences of a third DUI conviction has a jail sentence of 10 days and a requirement of at least 360 hours of community service. At least two of the days have to be served consecutively, and all days have to be served within a six month period.
Q. What patterns do police look for when searching out intoxicated drivers on the road?
A. The following list, from most likely sign to least likely sign, is the possible signs of a drunken driver. This list was developed by the National Highway Traffic Administration)
- Negotiating a wide turn
- Straddling along the central marker between the lanes
Appearing to be Drunk
- Near misses or hitting either another vehicle or an object
- Weaving between lanes
- Driving off of designated highway
- Swerving within the lane lines
- Speeding over 10 mph above the designated speed limit
- Questionable stops in traffic lanes
- Driving over center marker between lanes
- Excessive braking
- Driving against traffic
- Questionable signaling
- Delayed reaction to traffic signals
- Inappropriate stopping or slowing
- Illegal or unwarranted turns
- Accelerating or slowing down quickly
- Driving without headlights on
It should be that excessive speeding is not a major symptom.
Q. When a police officer pulls me over and asks if I had been drinking, how should I answer him?
A. Legally speaking, an individual has a Constitutional right that they are not required to answer any questions that could incriminate them. An individual is allowed to ask to speak with an attorney before answering any questions. If you do state that you have been drinking, you are putting yourself in a dangerous position.
Q. I have a right to an attorney while taking a field sobriety test?
A. There is no right to an attorney until the individual is given the opportunity to take a breath blood test, or refusal of taking a chemical test.
Q. What physical and behavioral symptoms does an officer look for when he first pulls me over for a suspicion of an OWI in Indiana?
A. Law enforcement officers are trained to looks for specific signs:
- A flushed, or red, face
- Red, watery, glassy and/or bloodshot eyes
- Alcohol breath
- Incoherent or slurred speech
- Struggling to retrieve their license from a wallet
- Inability to comprehend the officer’s questions
- Difficulty when exiting the vehicle
- Unable to stay balanced while standing
- Using the vehicle for stand support
- Aggressive or other
- Soiled, rumpled, disorderly clothing
- Inability to keep balance while walking
- No knowledge of time or current location
- Inability to comprehend and/or follow directions
Q. If a police officer asks me to take a field sobriety test, what should I do?
A. The police officer has several test options available. The most common are:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN)
- Heel-to-toe walk
- Reciting of the alphabet
- Hand pat
- Modified position of attention (the Rhomberg test)
The officer has most likely already made his judgment and decision of arrest before requesting a field sobriety test. When the suspect fails it is only validation for the officer and serves as additional evidence. Unlike the chemical tests, refusing to take a FST should not have any legal penalties. Politely declining the FST could be a valid option for the suspect to take.
Studies funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have concluded that only three of these test are reliable in determining if a driver is intoxicated: Heel-to-toe, one-leg-stand, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. These three tests use numerical scores which are specific to the suspect’s actions. The study also concluded that the other FSTs are unreliable and should be discouraged from being used.
Q. When a police officer asks me to follow a penlight what does he look for?
A. This test is called the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. Nystagmus is the medical term that describes a particular eye oscillation. The steadiness of the eyes while following the pen and the degree at which the eyes begin to move erratically indicate the level of alcohol in the blood of the suspect. The police officer attempts to determine if the angle of the eyes are less than 45 degrees. An angle of less than 45 generally indicates a blood-alcohol level of .05% or greater.
The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is still fairly new and has not been accepted for use in many states. Many medical professionals do not consider this test to be credible. It is also possible that some police officers performing this test are not qualified to administer the test. The untrained administering officer may not be able to negotiate the proper angle and hence misjudge nystagmus.
Q. What would happen if I refused to take the breathalyzer test?
A. If you refuse the breathalyzer test, the officer will immediate confiscate your driver’s license and place you under arrest. Your license will be automatically suspended for a minimum of one year. When you refuse to take a breathalyzer test you are in violation of the Indiana implied consent law and are subject to be placed under arrest by the law enforcement officer.
Q. How long does an OWI/DUI stay on your driving record in Indiana?
A. While a DUI/OWI will only affect points of a drivers license for two years, the State of Indiana will retain a DUI offense on a driver’s record for life. Additionally, eight points will be assessed, which remain for two years.
Q. How do police determine if you’re driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
A. Law enforcement officers use three methods for determining whether a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Those three methods are the following: general observation, field sobriety tests (FSTs), and breathalyzers.
Q. What are the legal blood alcohol limits for DUI?
A. The legal BAC limit in Indiana is:
- Over 21 years of age is .08%.
- Under the age of 21, the limit is .02%.
Q. What is a felony DUI in Indiana?
A. In Indiana a second DUI conviction can be a felony.
If You Need an Indianapolis DUI Lawyer
If you have been charged with a suspicion of an OWI/DUI in the State of Indiana, you need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Call Indianapolis DUI lawyer, D Turner Legal, LLC at 317-721-4783 for help. An OWI in Indiana is a very serious matter and any charges should be addressed immediately.