Getting charged with a DUI offense in Indianapolis, IN can be one of the most trying times of your life. Facing possible jail time and long-term implications related to your charge is overwhelming.
That’s why having an experienced Indianapolis DUI lawyer on your side during this process can make a significant difference. The legal team at Suhre & Associates, LLC will use our 100 years of combined experience to get you the best possible outcome in your DUI case.
We know state law as well as how local prosecutors approach these types of cases, so we will do all we can to assist you. If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Indianapolis, Indiana, contact our law office at (317) 759-2599 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys.
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How Our Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help If You’re Arrested for a DUI
If you or a member of your family has been arrested on DUI charges in Indianapolis, IN, it is vital to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately.
There are various steps we can take to help build a solid case and provide the best outcome, such as:
- Review Your Arrest: We will carefully consider all aspects of your arrest in order to identify whether there were any constitutional violations or other issues with the process. This can sometimes be a way to get key evidence suppressed so the prosecutor can’t use it at trial.
- Obtain Necessary Evidence: We will work hard to identify and locate all relevant evidence associated with your charges – police reports, breathalyzer results, witness statements, surveillance footage, and anything else that will help us build a solid defense for you.
- Negotiate With District Attorneys: In some instances, prosecuting attorneys may offer plea deals that should be carefully considered before going to trial. We’ll work diligently on your behalf to present mitigating evidence to secure an optimal result in your favor.
If you need help with a DUI-related incident in Indianapolis, IN, we’re here for you. Contact Suhre & Associates, LLC to schedule a no-cost consultation with one of our Indianapolis DUI attorneys.
Overview of DUI Laws in Indiana
Unlike some other states, Indiana uses the term “Operating While Intoxicated” (OWI) to describe the offense of driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
The essentials of these laws are as follows:
- BAC Limit: Indiana law prohibits operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher.
- Controlled Substances: The state also forbids operating a vehicle with any schedule I or II controlled substance in a person’s system.
- Underage Drivers: Indiana has a “zero tolerance” law prohibiting underage drivers (under 21 years old) from operating a vehicle with a BAC of .02% or more.
Indiana’s OWI laws encompass controlled substances as well as alcohol, making it crucial to understand what substances are considered illegal for driving purposes. Examples of schedule I and II controlled substances include opiates, hallucinogenic drugs (e.g., LSD), marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine.
Having these drugs in your system would be called a “per se” DUI for drug-impaired driving. Any detectable amount of a controlled substance in the driver’s system is considered a violation of the law.
DUI Under .08%
If you have been charged with a DUI in Indiana, it is important to understand that you can still be found guilty of operating under the influence even if your BAC is under .08%. It may be more difficult for the prosecutor to prove, but it’s still possible.
Indiana’s Implied Consent Law
Refusing a breathalyzer or other chemical test does not protect you from OWI charges in Indiana. In fact, under Indiana’s implied consent law, refusing such a test will automatically suspend your license for a year.
An administrative hearing is a separate legal proceeding from the criminal DUI charges. It is specifically focused on the issue of your driver’s license suspension. Requesting an administrative hearing can prove crucial in defending your right to maintain a valid driver’s license while your OWI case is pending.
After being charged with an OWI, you only have ten days to request an administrative hearing, which could prevent an automatic suspension of your license. Failure to request this hearing within the allotted time frame will result in an automatic license suspension.
The license suspension period depends on the circumstances. For example, if you refused the chemical test, your driving privileges will be suspended for one year. If you submitted to chemical testing and it indicated intoxication, your driving privileges will be suspended for 180 days (or sooner if your charges are dropped, for example).
What Are the Penalties For a DUI Conviction in Indianapolis, Indiana?
First Offense DUI in Indiana
If you’re facing your first DUI charge in the state of Indiana, it’s important to know what’s in store for you.
For a first offense, here’s what you can expect in terms of potential penalties and consequences if convicted:
- Jail time: Up to 60 days in jail, or up to 1 year with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15% or more
- Fines: Up to $500, or up to $5,000 with a BAC of .15% or more
- License suspension: Up to one year
You may also face other penalties, such as community service, requirement to enter an alcohol or drug use treatment program, and/or installation of an ignition interlock device.
Subsequent DUI Offense in Indiana
A subsequent DUI offense in Indiana comes with increased penalties.
If you are convicted of a subsequent DUI, the following consequences may apply:
- Jail time: 2.5 years in jail (or more, depending on the offense)
- Fines: Up to $10,000
- License suspension: Two years or more, depending on the offense
- Habitual offender: You may be charged as a habitual vehicular substance offender, which carries a potential lifetime license suspension as well as an additional 1-8 years in jail.
Whether it’s your first DUI or your 5th DUI, this is an incredibly serious charge that should be handled with care. Always speak with an experienced DUI attorney in Indianapolis as soon as possible.
What Defenses Can Be Raised If I’m Arrested For a DUI in Indianapolis, IN?
Most people are aware that driving under the influence is illegal and can be punished severely. However, if you find yourself charged with a DUI, legal defenses are available to potentially reduce the penalties, have the charges dismissed, or obtain an acquittal.
Below are some of those defenses so that you know what to expect:
Insufficient Evidence: The most basic defense against a DUI charge is insufficient evidence. The prosecution bears the burden of proof in criminal cases and must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that all elements of the crime (operating under the influence) were present at the time in question.
If they cannot do so – for example, they didn’t see you in the car and don’t have a witness who saw you operating the vehicle – there may be insufficient evidence, which could lead to an acquittal.
Illegal Stop: One common defense for DUI charges is that the police conducted an illegal stop. This means showing that law enforcement violated your constitutional rights when they pulled you over in the first place (i.e. not having reasonable suspicion).
For example, if an officer pulls you over merely because they think your car looks suspicious, this would likely constitute a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. Any evidence obtained after the stop could be suppressed.
Faulty Breathalyzer Results: Another legal argument used in a DUI case is challenging the results of a breathalyzer test. Breathalyzers can be unreliable and produce inaccurate readings in some cases. During trial, lawyers can cross-examine officers about calibration, maintenance procedures, and mishandling of testing equipment and procedures.
Lack of Miranda Warnings: While not being read your Miranda rights is not in and of itself a complete defense to a DUI charge, it can, in some circumstances, chip away at the prosecutor’s case. If you were arrested and weren’t told that you have the right to remain silent and you have a right to a lawyer, any evidence obtained from questioning or interrogation may not be admissible as part of the case against you.
Medical Conditions or Alternative Substances: Another potential defense is based on the presence of medical conditions or alternative substances that might have influenced the DUI test results.
Examples of such conditions or substances include:
- Acid reflux
- Ketosis due to a high-protein diet or fasting
- Consuming legal, non-alcoholic substances that can affect test results, like mouthwash or certain medications
In such cases, expert testimony from medical professionals and supporting documentation of your condition or prescribed medications can help bolster your defense.
Rising Blood Alcohol Defense: Another possible defense is the rising blood alcohol defense. This argument posits that your blood alcohol level was below the legal limit at the time you were actually driving, but it continued to rise after your arrest.
As a result, the following factors might support a rising blood alcohol defense:
- Consuming alcohol right before driving
- A significant delay between the time of driving and the time of testing
If you believe that the rising blood alcohol defense might apply to your case, it is critical to consult an experienced DUI lawyer in Indianapolis to evaluate the evidence and build a strong argument.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With Our Indianapolis DUI Attorneys
The consequences of a DUI offense can have far-reaching effects on your life. Even if it is your first conviction, the court may impose jail time, fines, and other penalties that could impact you for years to come.
If you or someone you care about has been arrested and charged with a DUI, it’s important to seek appropriate legal counsel from an experienced Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer who specializes in DUIs as soon as possible. For help, contact Suhre & Associates, LLC to speak with one of our Indianapolis DUI defense attorneys.