09 Oct Felony OVWI Charge: What to Expect
Indianapolis Criminal Law Blog: What to Expect If You Are Arrested for a Felony OVWI
So you’ve been arrested for operating while intoxicated, and unfortunately, you have a prior conviction for operating while intoxicated on your record. If that prior OVWI conviction is within seven years of the new arrest, you may be charged with Operating While Intoxicated as a Level 6 Felony. As opposed to a misdemeanor, which carries penalties up to one year in jail, a Level 6 felony OVWI carries possible penalties from 6 months up to two and one-half years in the Department of Correction. A conviction can also carry a possible license suspension up to two and one-half years.
License Suspension While OVWI Case is Pending
When initially charged with a Level 6 felony OVWI, the first concern may be whether your license will be suspended. If the judge finds that there is probable cause that a chemical test shows a B.A.C. over .08, the judge will order a suspension. Typically, this happens if there is a breath test result or blood test result over .08.
If you are suspended, you may qualify to apply for a pre-trial Specialized Driving Permit. This allows you to drive to certain locations during certain times while the suspension is pending. Typically, this includes driving to and from work, treatment, court hearings, religious services, grocery stores, etc.
First Steps After Hiring an Attorney – Treatment
When discussing the first steps to address your case, your attorney may recommend that you complete an alcohol class and substance abuse evaluation. Taking these classes are not only helpful for someone who might be dealing with a substance abuse issue, they can also put you in a better negotiating position.
The AAID class is similar to MADD classes. This is a one-time class, usually in the evening, that discusses the effects of drunk driving in the community.
The substance abuse evaluation and treatment component can be more substantial. This involves meeting with a treatment provider and completing an alcohol and/or substance abuse evaluation and then following through with any treatment recommendations. These requirements are often part of a initial plea offer and having them done ahead of time can help in negotiations or sentence arguments.
Once hired, your attorney will start to compile discovery in your case. He or she will review the facts with you, obtain all police reports and OVWI tests and review any chemical analysis reports. This will help you and your attorney decide the best way to resolve your case. It is important to stay in touch with your attorney and provide any information they request, as they cannot properly represent you without all of the information.
Felony OVWI Sentencing: Mandatory Jail Time
One of the main questions we are asked by clients who are facing a second or third OVWI charge is if they are going to jail. Most of the time, that answer is: it depends. A lot depends on what county and court your case is in and who the prosecutor is assigned to the case. However, under the Indiana criminal code, if you have one prior conviction for OVWI on your record and you are convicted of a second OVWI (whether that is a felony or misdemeanor) you must serve a minimum of 5 actual days in jail. If you have two prior OVWI convictions, there is a minimum of 10 days in jail. Although, in some cases, you can agree to perform 240 hours of community service in lieu of the 5 jail days or 480 hours of community service in lieu of the 10 jail days. But keep in mind that is a lot of volunteer hours and while it may seem like good option, if you don’t complete those service hours you may be facing a significant amount of jail time, so make sure to discuss these options in detail with your attorney.
Indianapolis Felony OVWI and Criminal Defense Law Firm
Chambers Law Office represents clients facing felony OVWI charges in Indianapolis, Hamilton County, Hendricks County, Hancock County, Shelby County and throughout central Indiana. If you have been arrested for operating while intoxicated, you need dedicated and experienced lawyer by your side. As former deputy prosecutors, our attorneys know their way around the courtroom and are prepared to fight for you. Call today to speak with an attorney.