30 Apr Arrested for DUI/OVWI in Indiana
Arrested for DUI/OVWI in Indiana? Don’t Panic! Understanding the Process is the First Step.
If you have been arrested for DUI/OVWI in Indiana, you probably have a lot of questions. What happens next? Will I lose my driver’s license? Will I go to jail? Who can help me? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This week’s blog will take a look at what happens during the criminal process after someone has been arrested for DUI/OVWI in Indiana.
What Happens When you are First Stopped for DUI/OWVI?
In many cases, your first contact with a police officer in a DUI investigation will be a traffic stop or DUI checkpoint. If you are being pulled over, stop your vehicle a quickly as possible, while making sure to be safe. The officer will approach the vehicle and begin his or her investigation. In Indiana, you can be stopped for even the most minor traffic violation, such as having a burnt out license plate light, so many times, a person may not even know why they are being stopped. It’s usually best not to argue with the officer about why you are being stopped.
After the Traffic Stop – Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs)
If the officer has reason to believe you are intoxicated (or not), he or she may ask you to perform Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). These are usually the Nine Step Walk and Turn test, the One Leg Stand and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN).
The HGN test is what you see on TV when the officer has you follow a pen or his finger with your eyes. He is tracking your eyes to look for cues that may indicate intoxication. The One Leg Stand test requires you to stand on one foot for 30 seconds while counting out loud. For the Nine Step Walk and Turn test, the officer will read you instructions and require you to walk in a straight line while touching your feet heel to toe and turn on your feet and walk back. There are a few other tests that they officer may use, as well.
After these are completed, the officer will use the results to help determine whether he or she will offer you certified chemical test or simply arrest you for drunk driving at that point. If you are later charged with DUI/OVWI, the officer can testify at trial about the results of these tests.
Can You Refuse the Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs)?
It is important to note that it is not a requirement that you perform the Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) in Indiana. Unlike the certified breath test or blood test that carries penalties if refused due to the implied consent laws, the SFSTs are not mandatory. The officer may try to imply that you must perform the tests, but you can politely state that you do not feel comfortable performing them and decline. However, under Indiana’s implied consent law, if you are asked to perform a certified breath test or consent to a blood draw and you refuse either one, your driver’s license can be suspended for one year.
Implied Consent and the Certified Breath Test or Blood Draw
If the officer has probable cause to arrest you, he or she will normally read you the implied consent law and ask you to submit to a certified breath test or blood draw. The implied consent law essentially states that when you obtain your driver’s license, you consent to submit to these tests if asked. If you refuse, the police can request a search warrant for a blood draw anyway, and if the court determines that you did refuse the test, your license will be suspended for one year. (See I.C. 9-30-6).
After the Arrest for DUI…Criminal Charges and Driver’s License Suspension
After you are arrested for DUI, you will be booked in and processed. Charges will be filed by the prosecutor. You may be charged with multiple counts, such as Operating While Intoxicated Endangering a Person, Operating While Intoxicated with BAC at Least .08% or Operating While Intoxicated with BAC Greater than .15%. If there is a child in the car, you have prior convictions for DUI/OVWI or you caused injury, the charges may be enhanced.
If a judge finds probable cause that you were operating while intoxicated, the court will suspend your license for 180 days. If this happens and you are later convicted at trial or plead guilty, you will usually get credit for that license suspension. You may also qualify for a Specialized Driving Privilege while you case is pending.
Former Deputy Prosecutor On Your Side
If you have been arrested for DUI or OVWI in Indiana, you need an experienced attorney on your side. DUI cases can be complicated and can carry serious penalties, such as jail time, probation, the loss of driving privileges and high fines and fees. Julie Chambers is a former deputy prosecutor, giving her unique insight into the criminal justice system. If you have been arrested for DUI or OVWI in Indiana, contact Chambers Law Office, LLC today!
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