Being arrested for DWI/OWI can be a very scary experience. If you or a family member find yourself in this position you should immediately meet with an attorney to discuss your rights.
When reviewing the tickets you have received and the charges against you, you may discover that you have been charged with more than one count. This is NOT unusual when someone has been cited for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Indiana law allows for several different levels/types of charges. However, if you are convicted, the court will only allow for you to be convicted of ONE of these charges.
Some of the charges that can be alleged include:
- A person who operates a vehicle with alcohol concentration of at least .08 but not less than .15 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of the person’s breath commits a Class C misdemeanor.
- A person who operates a vehicle with alcohol concentration of at least .15 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of the person’s breath commits a Class A misdemeanor.
- A person who operates a motor vehicle while intoxicated commits a Class C misdemeanor.
- A person who operates a motor vehicle while intoxicated in a manner that endangers a person commits a Class A misdemeanor.
Remember, many of these charges do not require either a breath or blood test, they can simply be proven by the officer’s testimony. Also, some of these charges can be enhanced to a felony if a person has a prior conviction of operating while intoxicated within a certain timeframe of the current arrest.
Often times, even before a trial or a determination of your guilt or innocence, your driver’s license will be suspended.
Once the court has been informed that you have either failed a breath test for intoxication, or refused a chemical test, the court will send a recommendation to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to suspend your license. While this usually does not take place before the person’s initial hearing, there are certain judges that will send the order of suspension immediately upon being notified of your test results, or your refusal to submit to a test. Thankfully, there are option to continue to drive, despite an suspension.
For example, the installation of a ignition interlock, commonly referred to as a ‘blow and go.’ The ignition interlock has to be approved by a court order and it once the interlock is installed, you need to carry proof of insurance in your vehicle.
There also is a possibility of getting a special driving privilege (SDP). This permit is usually much more restrictive than the ignition interlock. The SDP allows an individual to drive for certain purposes, such as work, school and medical needs. Some judges are quite strict in relegating the times and routes you will be allowed to drive.
If our office represents you, in our very first meeting with you, we will discuss the inevitable suspension, and we will immediately work with you to either attempt to get an ignition interlock or an SDP.
In most cases, if you are convicted of driving a vehicle while either intoxicated or with a high blood alcohol content, and you have never been convicted of any similar type offense, you will NOT be required to serve a jail sentence. This is even though the judge could impose a jail sentence if he or she wished, but in the vast majority of cases, this does not happen. However, you may be sentenced to probation, which could include an alcohol evaluation by an agency approved by the court, community service, and many times a victim impact panel (VIP).
Normally, if you have been charged with an OWI/DUI and you contact our office we would be willing to have a detailed conversation with you, over the phone if needed, to try to give you some advice on what you should expect. Furthermore, if you scheduled an appointment to come into our office, which again would be without fee, we can review with you what you could expect, discuss possible court costs, attorney’s fees, and possible defenses that you might have.
We would immediately begin the process to attempt to help you keep your driving privileges while the case is pending and get the full police report. We would then meet with the prosecutor to negotiate a resolution to your case. We will keep you informed as the case the moves through the court.