If you are a driver in Indianapolis, Indiana, it is essential that you understand the state’s 1st time DUI laws regarding drunk and drugged driving. In Indiana, the charge for drunk and drugged driving is referred to as Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) and not DUI.
If you are charged with an OWI offense, the penalties can be severe; you will need the help of a criminal defense lawyer. They can assist you in understanding your charges, explaining your legal options, and working with you to develop a defense strategy.
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How Suhre & Associates, LLC, Can Help If You’re Arrested for a 1st Time DUI
If you are facing first-time DUI charges in Indianapolis, IN, it’s critical to have an experienced and trustworthy criminal defense lawyer by your side to protect your rights and help you navigate complex legal procedures. Here’s how we can help you:
- We will examine police reports and body cam footage.
- We will explore viable motions, like a motion to suppress to exclude evidence that was obtained illegally. If successful, this motion can weaken the prosecution’s case and potentially lead to a dismissal or reduction of the charges.
- If applicable, we can negotiate with the prosecutor for a plea deal. This deal could result in a reduction of the charges, a lesser sentence, or other types of alternative sentences.
- If it comes to it, we will aggressively defend you in court.
Contact Suhre & Associates, LLC, to schedule a free consultation with a trusted Indianapolis DUI defense lawyer.
Overview of 1st Time DUI in Indiana
Indiana’s OWI law makes it illegal for individuals under the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .02 percent or higher. Drivers aged 21 and older may not operate a vehicle with a BAC of .08 percent or higher. BAC can be determined by chemical tests, such as breath and blood tests.
In Indiana, it is also against the law to drive a car with any amount of schedule I or II controlled substance in your system. Drugs like opiates, hallucinogens, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana are examples of these.
If a police officer pulls you over and thinks you have been using drugs, they may order a chemical test.
What Are the Penalties for a First-Time DUI Conviction in Indianapolis, Indiana?
Fines and Jail Time
There is no mandatory jail time for a first time OWI/DUI in Indianapolis. Jail time for a first-time DUI ranges from 30 to 60 days and carries a fine of up to $500 if your BAC was between 0.08 and 0.14 percent. If your BAC was 0.15 percent or higher, the length of jail time can be increased to one year, and the fine increases as well – up to $5,000.
Driver’s Licenses Suspension
Driver’s license suspension is also a common penalty for OWI offenses in Indiana. Depending on the circumstances of the case, your license can be suspended for between 90 days and two years.
Failing a chemical test will result in a suspension period of 180 days, while refusing to submit to a test will result in a suspension of one year.
If your license is suspended due to a failed chemical test, you may be able to obtain specialized driving privileges by installing an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. This device tests your breath for alcohol before allowing your car to start.
However, if your license is suspended due to refusal of a chemical test, you are not eligible for specialized driving privileges.
If your criminal OWI charge is dismissed, or if you were found not guilty of the OWI charge and didn’t refuse to submit to a chemical test, you will be able to get your license back.
The consequences of an OWI conviction go beyond a monetary penalty or a suspended license. Once you have an OWI on your record, it can limit your travel opportunities. Some countries, such as Canada, do not allow entry to people with a criminal record, including DUI-related convictions.
Another way an OWI conviction can affect your future is by making it harder to find a place to live. Landlords almost always run background checks on potential tenants, and having an OWI on your record might make them hesitant to rent to you.
Even if you manage to find a landlord who is willing to overlook the conviction, you could end up paying a higher deposit or rent due to the perceived risk. This can add up over time and make it harder for you to save money or build your credit.
Additionally, an OWI conviction can impact your career prospects. Employers run criminal background checks on job applicants, especially for positions that involve driving or trust. If your OWI conviction shows up on your record, it might make it harder for you to land a job.
If you already have a job and your employer finds out about the conviction, they might demote you or fire you altogether. This can have severe financial repercussions and damage your reputation in the industry.
What Defenses Can Be Raised If I’m Accused of a 1st Time DUI in Indianapolis, IN?
If you have been accused of a first-time DUI, several legal defenses may be raised to defend you. Some of the most common include the following:
One of the most common defenses in DUI cases is to argue that you were not intoxicated. This can be proven through a blood or breath test, which measures your BAC.
If you are 21 or older and the test results show that your BAC level was below the legal limit of 0.08 percent, it can be argued that you were not under the influence.
Another defense that can be raised if you are accused of a DUI is to argue that you were not driving. In order for the prosecution to prove a DUI charge, they must have evidence that you were driving or in control of the vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If you were sleeping in the car parked in a legal spot at the time of the arrest with the keys not in the ignition, it could be argued that you were not operating the car and therefore, cannot be convicted of a DUI.
Motion To Suppress
A skilled criminal defense lawyer can file a motion to suppress if there was no reasonable suspicion to stop your car. In order for a police officer to conduct a traffic stop, they must have reasonable suspicion that a crime or traffic violation has been committed.
If there was no reasonable suspicion and the police stopped your car anyway, all subsequent evidence obtained would be excluded, including the results of the breath or blood test.
Accuracy of Chemical Test
Another defense that can be used is to challenge the accuracy of the breath or blood test used to determine BAC levels. These tests are not infallible and often have issues with calibration and maintenance.. A DUI defense lawyer can challenge the results of the test by examining the equipment used and the procedures followed in conducting the test.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With Our 1st Time DUI Lawyers
If you are facing an OWI charge in Indianapolis, IN, it is essential to hire an experienced Indianapolis DUI defense lawyer to help you fight the charges. With the right legal representation, you might be able to avoid a criminal record. For help with a 1st time DUI in Indianapolis, Indiana, contact Suhre & Associates, LLC, to schedule a free consultation.