Indianapolis DUI Lawyer
The Indiana DUI law explains that car accidents in Indianapolis, Indiana are interchangeable across the country. Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is prohibited in the United States and can cause grave consequences. An intoxicated driver’s vision, judgment, and reaction time are severely impaired and can cause lethal accidents if they need to react in an emergency. One of the criminal defense attorneys Indianapolis can assist anyone who was charged with a DUI. Here at RileyCate LLC, we specialize in helping our clients with their operating while intoxicated (OWI) charges.
Accidents Caused by DUI Drivers Have
According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 28 people in America die in DUI-induced car crashes each day. To put this into perspective, it is estimated that about 10,000 people die annually in DUI car accidents, with fatalities spiking around the holidays. The widespread consensus is that drunk driving is extremely dangerous, which is proven by a 2021 study that discovered about 78% of Americans were concerned about alcohol-consuming drivers, while 69% were concerned about drug-impaired drivers.
According to Forbes, the greatest percentage of drunk driving convictions is 27% for people between the ages of 21 and 24 and 25% for those between the ages of 25 and 34.
DUI: Consequences, Fines, and Sentencing
Legal and insurance consequences follow a DUI conviction, including fines, jail time, or license suspension. A DUI conviction is classified as a Class C misdemeanor if it is the person’s first DUI offense, and their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over .08%, but less than 0.15%. However, the DUI offense is increased to a Class A misdemeanor if the operation of the vehicle while intoxicated endangers a person or if the person’s BAC is over .15%. The penalties given by the court vary depending on the state. In Indiana, a Class C misdemeanor carries a maximum of 60 days of jail time and up to a $500 fine while a Class A misdemeanor carries a maximum of 365 days of jail time and up to a $5,000 fine. One of the criminal defense attorneys Indianapolis will surely assist in helping their clients through the legal process of their DUI defense. Persons who commit repeated driving offenses while intoxicated will incur harsher penalties and higher court fees.
The person convicted of a DUI offense will get a license suspension handed out by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). Those who refuse to be administered a breathalyzer test or chemical (blood) test will be punished with a license suspension for the following periods:
- Up to 365 days for a failed test depending on whether the DUI is charged as a Class A misdemeanor or a Class C misdemeanor
- One year if there is a refusal to take the chemical test
The BMV will reinstate someone’s driver’s license in the following circumstances:
- If the DUI charge is dismissed
- The offender was found not guilty of the DUI charge
The time the offender’s driver’s license was administratively suspended for failing a chemical test will be credited toward the court suspension. However, the defendant is ineligible to receive the credit toward the court suspension if the license suspension is because they refused a chemical test.
DUI Affects Your Car Insurance
In the event of a car accident caused by driving under the influence, the offender’s car insurance company will be notified. Generally, the charge will cause a spike in insurance rates at renewal time. The average national auto insurance rate for DUI drivers is 74%, according to Forbes Advisor’s Analysis. In Indiana, the average car insurance rate increase after a DUI is 66%.
Before insurance renewal or policy application, insurance companies review the insurer’s driving records. It would be an immediate red flag to insurance companies if a driver had a DUI, DWI, or OUI charge. Insurance companies view a DUI charge as a serious offense. If the driver has a prior conviction, they will likely be hit with a high surcharge for three to five years.
How to Lower Your Car Insurance After A DUI Criminal Defense
- Ask for Discounts: Ask your insurance agent what discounts you are eligible for to get the best rate possible.
- Shop Around For Better Rates: Building a good rapport with insurance companies is imperative to win back their trust. Show them that it was a one-time incident and keep your record clear of traffic violations.
- Show That You Have Become A Safe Driver: To ensure you receive the best deal, shop around different insurance companies to compare car insurance quotes. When your insurance is raised due to the DUI, compare the new rate with a cheaper one from another provider. Being a habitual traffic violator will discourage insurance companies from working with you, so drive sober and drive safely.
Types of Sobriety Field Tests: Standardized and Non-Standardized
Standardized sobriety field tests must follow specific guidelines to ensure an accurate result. These tests are used by police officers when detaining a driver suspected of driving under the influence and have been validated by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). These tests include the following:
- The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN) – This regards the movement of your eyes. Nystagmus is the medical term used to describe the involuntary jerking of the eyeball. The officer will hold an object approximately 12-15 inches away from your nose and slowly move it from side to side. You will be asked to keep your head still while following the object.
- The One-Leg Stand Test (OLS) – The police officer instructs the driver to raise one leg about six inches with their foot parallel to the ground. With their hands at their side, the driver will count in thousands while looking at their foot until the officer tells them to stop.
- The Walk-and-Turn (WAT) Test – This procedure consists of the driver taking nine heel-to-toe steps forward and backward on a real or imaginary line. While the driver is walking, the officers will watch closely to see if the driver is capable of walking in a straight line.
Non-standardized tests are options for law enforcement officers when standardized field sobriety tests cannot be conducted. These tests include the following:
- The Vertical Gaze Nystagmus Test – The officer holds an object approximately 12-15 inches from the driver’s nose. The driver is then instructed to follow the object while holding their head still as the officer moves it up and down.
- The Romberg Balance Test – This tests the idea that vision, vestibular function, and proprioception are necessary to maintain balance. The test is administered by the officer directing the driver to stand with their feet together, head tilted slightly back, and eyes closed. The officer will then ask the driver to estimate when 30 seconds have elapsed and say “stop” when they believe the time has arrived.
- The Finger-To-Nose Test – This is when the driver closes their eyes and tilts their head back slightly to touch their nose with their index finger. This test is administered three times on each hand totaling six attempts.
- The Finger Count Test – This is conducted by the driver extending one arm in front of them with their palm facing forward. They are then instructed to use their thumb as a guide and touch the remaining fingers. The driver will then count each time their fingers and thumb connect. This test is to be conducted a total of three times.
- The Hand Pat Test – The officer instructs the driver to extend their arm out with their palm facing up and out. The other hand will be placed atop, with the palm facing down. The top hand will be rotated 180 degrees to the bottom hand with the back of the hand, and the suspect counts “one” before the next rotation.
- The ABC Test – The officer instructs the driver to recite a portion of the ABCs. In some cases, the officer will have the driver say or write the entire alphabet. While reciting the ABCs, the officer will be vigilant of certain signs indicating that the driver is intoxicated.
- The Numbers Backward Test – The officer may ask the driver to count from 1 to 10 or 100 to 1,000. They will then count backward as the officer looks for indicators of impairment, counting incorrectly, or having problems following instructions. A driver exhibiting one or more of these behaviors will result in an arrest for DUI violations.
In most cases, a breathalyzer test will be conducted as well since it is a common method of determining drunk driving offenses. However, the results can be challenged. Law offices will ensure that their client gets of highly qualified criminal defense attorneys Indianapolis for their case.
Indiana: DUI Convictions, Consequences, Fines, and Sentencing
According to the driving laws, In Indiana, the term “operating while intoxicated” (OWI) refers to intoxicated driving. One of the criminal defense attorneys Indianapolis will assist in the legal terms of a person’s DUI case.
The OWI laws in Indiana prohibit impaired persons from operating a motor vehicle in the following circumstances:
- Their blood alcohol concentration level is above the legal limit of .08%
- They have any amount of schedule I or II controlled substances in their system, which includes: opiates, marijuana, hallucinogenic drugs, cocaine, and methamphetamine
Indiana has a “zero tolerance” law that makes it illegal for drivers who are under the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration level of .02% or more. Any BAC beyond the legal limit is unacceptable, but the consequences for OWI charges in Indiana vary based on the circumstances of the case. The charge may become a part of your permanent driving record if you do not seek an expungement of your OWI charges when you become eligible. If an offender has priors within seven (7) years of their previous offense, the OWI charge goes from a misdemeanor to a felony. A felony OWI conviction carries a possible punishment of six months to two and a half years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine for the DUI charges.
House bill 1272 of the Indiana General Assembly states, “a court may grant probationary driving privileges to a person who is convicted of operating a vehicle or motorboat while intoxicated and who does not have a previous OWI conviction or whose previous conviction was at least 10 years in the past and may order the person to not operate a motor vehicle for six months unless it is equipped with a functioning certified ignition interlocking device.”
In a study conducted by Purdue University, questionnaires were mailed to 120 judges throughout central Indiana. Studies show that approximately 82% of judges use community service in their sentencing instead of administering jail time to the convicted.
The use of community service varies significantly from court to court so it is important to hire an attorney who is familiar with the court where your charges are pending. Not all courts, especially in Hamilton County, choose to utilize community service in lieu of jail time for OWI convictions.
Drunk Driving Prevention Measures
- Sobriety checkpoints administered by law enforcement officers reduce potential fatalities
- Every Saturday before Mother’s Day, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) collaborate with law enforcement officers to host media events and fundraisers to promote awareness
- “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” is an annual campaign from the NHTSA that runs from December 18th to January 1st to promote safe driving during the winter holiday season.
- First-time drunk drivers are required in some states to have ignition interlocks to start their cars. If there is a high amount of alcohol in their system, the car will not start.
Plea Bargaining OWI Cases In Indiana
Often times clients will ask about the dismissal of OWI charges in Indiana. An outright dismissal is highly unlikely unless the court finds there was no probable cause for the arrest, or chooses to suppress evidence crucial to the State’s case. Hiring one of the competent criminal defense attorneys Indianapolis can help review evidence of drunk driving and properly advise you whether there is a basis to try to have your case dismissed.
According to driving laws, there are some cases where an OWI can be reduced to a “reckless driving” charge. Having an OWI charge reduced to reckless driving is heavily dependent upon the facts and circumstances of your drunk driving charge. Whether an OWI is pled down to a reckless driving charge is discretionary with the prosecutor assigned to your case but rarely occurs in Hamilton County, Indiana.
An experienced Indianapolis DUI lawyer from RileyCate will work with you to try to get your charges reduced or dismissed. Located near Indianapolis, IN 46204, our Indianapolis DUI lawyers will provide you with professional legal guidance for your case. We serve clients both locally and nationally. Our Indianapolis criminal defense lawyers will provide legal counsel, and you can trust that we have the experiences and knowledge you need.
Our criminal defense attorneys will provide legal guidance in how to maneuver through DUI offenses. In central Indiana, it is important to comply with the police officer upon a DUI stop to avoid preventional DUI charges.
As Indiana DUI attorneys it is imperative that we adhere to the rules and regulations of the criminal defense system while serving our civil duty of providing our clients with the best legal representation. The goal is for our client to obtain the best possible outcome, which in some cases means a not guilty verdict. We pride ourselves on being personable with our clients to ensure they are getting the best legal assistance that our law firm can provide. DUI cases can be quite troublesome in the criminal justice system, but the right DUI lawyer will work for you to get the justice you deserve. We provide our clients a step by step explanation of how the process works to ensure the client has the right expectations before we head into court.
Call now for a consultation from an experienced DUI attorney at RileyCate LLC. The initial consultation will assist our Indianapolis DUI attorneys in gaining insight into your case to learn more about your DUI offense. If you currently reside in Marion County, Hamilton County, or anywhere else in Indiana, one of our attorneys will help guide you through the DUI charge process. You may also fill out the form in the “Contact” section of our website, and one of our DUI attorneys will respond at our earliest convenience.