It’s a crime in all U.S. states and territories for a driver to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. In Indiana, it is categorized as a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offense.
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in Indiana, it’s critical that you hire a DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. Since DUI is a crime, your charge may be prosecuted in court, and you could face severe consequences.
At Rathburn Law, we have world-class DUI defense attorneys serving in Brownsburg, IN, and the surrounding areas. Our Brownsburg DUI defense lawyers will guide you through the judicial process and try to minimize the consequences the DUI charge could bring upon you. Contact us today to discuss all available legal remedies for your DUI case.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Vs. Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
DUI laws in Indiana specifically cover driving while drunk from alcohol. DWI laws, specifically known as Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) in the state, cover driving while high on other drugs, including prescription medications, but not alcohol. Keep in mind that both laws have been expanded to cover vehicles other than cars, like boats and motorbikes.
What Is the BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) Limit in Indiana?
Alcohol has several effects on the human body<a>, including clouding judgment, impairing dexterities, and slowing down reaction times. As a result, it can severely affect your ability to drive. How much negative effect alcohol has on you will depend on several factors, such as your weight, height, metabolism, and gender. Most states, including Indiana, rely on a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to ascertain their level of drunkenness.
As the name suggests, the blood alcohol concentration is a measure of how much alcohol is in a person’s blood. In Indiana, non-commercial drivers above the age of 21 are regarded as legally drunk when their BAC level is 0.08% or more. On the other hand, commercial vehicle drivers are regarded as legally drunk when their BAC level is 0.04% or more. Drivers under the age of 21 are regarded as legally drunk when their BAC level is 0.02% or greater.
If your BAC exceeds the stated limits for your relevant category, you are not permitted to drive. Although the legal limit for operating a non-commercial vehicle is 0.08%, it doesn’t mean it’s safe for you to do so. This is because your judgment is already notably affected with a BAC of 0.04%, which is why the legal limit for commercial drivers is set here. By the time you hit a BAC of 0.06%, you are two times more likely to be involved in a fatal traffic accident than a driver who is sober.
How Police Measure BAC
At Rathburn Law, we recommend that you know how police measure BAC levels, as this can help with your Brownsburg DUI defense later on. If the police pull you over and suspect you are drunk beyond the legal limit, they have three test options to confirm your BAC level: breath, blood, or urine. You should know that under Indiana state law, the police officer will be the one to pick the test you take.
Breath tests are the most common BAC level tests in Indiana as they are simple, are commonly done at the scene of the stop, and provide instantaneous results. The police officer will hold a breathalyzer to your mouth and ask you to blow air into it. The breathalyzer will immediately show your BAC level.
Urine and blood tests are more complicated. Urine tests involve you being taken to the local police department and asked to provide a urine sample. Blood tests involve a licensed medical practitioner extracting your blood sample using a syringe and needle either at the scene of the stop, the local police station, or a medical facility. Your urine or blood sample will be sent to the lab, and it can take up to a month for the results to be processed.
What Penalties Can I Face for a DUI in Indiana?
If the test you were subjected to shows that you were drunk beyond the legal limit, you will be charged with a DUI offense in Brownsburg, IN. Contact our Brownsburg DUI defense lawyers to handle your case if you are in the Brownsburg region. DUI charges can carry severe penalties, and getting the best defense is vital to end up with the most favorable outcome possible.
In Indiana, the penalties for a DUI offense will vary depending on the circumstances of your case. The range of allowable penalties will be largely influenced by the number of prior DUI convictions you have.
Keep in mind that the state will keep every DUI conviction on your record, and it will be regarded as a prior conviction forever. Some of the penalties you may face for a first-time or repeat DUI conviction in Indiana include:
• First-time offenders can have their driver’s license suspended for between 90 days to two years.
• A person with a previous conviction that happened more than five years ago, but under ten years ago can have their driver’s license suspended for between 180 days and two years.
• Persons with at least one previous DUI conviction may be imprisoned for not less than five days or be mandated to complete at least 180 hours of community service or restitution. These repeat offenders will also be ordered to undergo an alcohol assessment and may be directed to attend and complete a treatment program.
• An individual with two or more previous convictions of DUI may be imprisoned for not less than ten days or be directed to complete not less than 360 hours of community service or restitution. These repeat offenders will also be mandated to undergo an alcohol assessment and may be directed to attend and complete a treatment program.
• A person with a previous DUI conviction that happened less than five years from the date of the current violation can have their driver’s license suspended for one to two years.
• An individual who causes serious bodily injury to another while operating a vehicle with a BAC level of 0.08% or greater can be imprisoned for six months to three years and fined up to $10,000. If the individual has a prior DUI conviction from the last five years, the imprisonment will be between two and eight years. In both instances, the offender’s driver’s license can be suspended for two to five years.
• Those who drive while drunk with a BAC level of 0.08% to 0.15% can be imprisoned for up to 60 days and fined $500.
• A person who drives drunk with a BAC level of 0.15% or more can be imprisoned for up to one year and fined $5,000.
• An individual with a previous DUI conviction that happened within the last five years from the date of the current violation could be imprisoned for between six months to three years and fined up to $10,000. That’s if they were driving drunk with a BAC level of 0.08% or more while a passenger aged under 18 years was in the vehicle.
• An individual who caused the death of another while driving drunk with a BAC level of 0.08%, but below 0.15%, can be imprisoned for between two to eight years and fined up to $10,000. If the individual has a previous DUI conviction from the past five years from the date of the current violation, the imprisonment may be between six to 20 years. In both instances, the offender’s driver’s license can be suspended for two to five years.
• Those who drive drunk with a BAC level of 0.15% or more and cause the death of another person may be imprisoned for between six and 20 years and fined up to $10,000.
• Where an individual’s drunk driving results in emergency medical services getting dispatched, the offender will be required to make restitution of up to $10,000.
• Ignition interlock: A judge can mandate an individual convicted of a DUI to install an ignition interlock system on their vehicle. If the individual has a previous DUI conviction from the last ten years, the judge must mandate that they install an ignition interlock system on their vehicle unless they complete an alcohol treatment program.
• Commercial drivers: On top of the standard penalties for a DUI in Indiana, commercial drivers convicted of a DUI while operating any motor vehicle will be prohibited from operating commercial vehicles for one year. The prohibition period may be three years if the commercial driver is convicted of a DUI while operating a commercial vehicle transporting hazardous materials. If a commercial driver is convicted of a DUI for the second time, they will be prohibited from operating commercial vehicles for life.
• Drivers under age 21: Individuals under the age of 21 driving drunk with a BAC level of over 0.02%, but under 0.08%, can have their driver’s license suspended for up to one year and fined $500. If a driver was driving drunk with a BAC level of 0.08% or more, they would face the same DUI penalties in Brownsburg as adults.
Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Indiana?
Under Indiana state law, once you obtain your driver’s license and get into the driver’s position in a vehicle, you have provided implied consent to accept chemical testing. By declining a breathalyzer test, you breach your implied consent, and you can be arrested. Once you refuse a breathalyzer test, the police officer may confiscate your driver’s license and arrest you.
The automatic penalty for refusing a breathalyzer test is the suspension of your driver’s license for no less than one year if you have no prior DUI conviction. If you have an earlier DUI conviction, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for two years. You will also be barred from obtaining a hardship license in both instances.
If you have been arrested for declining a breathalyzer test in Brownsburg, IN, it’s critical that your Brownsburg DUI defense lawyer immediately for sound legal counsel. Before you respond to any questions or accept culpability, consult with our skilled DUI defense attorneys near Brownsburg, IN.
What Is a Felony DUI in Indiana?
In most cases, a first-time DUI offense is a misdemeanor in Indiana. Nonetheless, a first-time DUI offense can turn into a felony DUI if the offender
- Was driving drunk with a minor in the vehicle.
- Has a DUI or OWI conviction within the past seven years from the date of the current offense.
- Seriously injures or kills someone while driving drunk.
Remember that a felony DUI conviction means you will end up with a felony conviction on your record forever. A felony conviction on your record can severely damage your personal, social, and professional life.
Common Defenses in DUI cases
There are numerous defense avenues that Rathburn Law attorneys can follow to achieve the best outcome for your Brownsburg DUI case. Here are some of the common defenses that our legal team may use in your DUI case.
Lack of Probable Cause for the Stop
Under Indiana state law, a police officer must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to pull you over for a DUI. Our DUI defense lawyers from Brownsburg may argue that the arresting officer didn’t have reasonable suspicion to pull you over and conducted an improper stop.
Challenging Accuracy of Tests
Our defense attorneys may also argue that the accuracy of the DUI tests is questionable. We may challenge the accuracy of the tests on the basis of:
- The arresting officer failed to conduct the sobriety tests properly.
- A false-positive breathalyzer test due to the defendant’s food intake, medical conditions, and use of certain oral products or a malfunctioning breathalyzer device.
- Poor maintenance of blood samples due to improper temperature storage, mislabeling, or the samples not collected by a licensed medical professional.
How Can a Brownsburg DUI Defense Lawyer Help Me?
At Rathburn Law, our top priority is defending you to get the charge dismissed and you declared innocent. If this is not a possibility, our DUI defense attorneys in Brownsburg will move on to pursue a lighter penalty for your DUI offense. This can include pointing out inconsistencies in the evidence to weaken the prosecution’s case and negotiating a plea deal with the prosecutor — on your behalf.
Our defense attorneys may also argue against your felony DUI charge to bring it down to a misdemeanor DUI. If your DUI conviction turns out to be unfair, our legal team will file an appeal on your behalf and pursue a more favorable outcome.
Contact Our Brownsburg DUI Defense Lawyers to Discuss All Available Legal Remedies
Contact us at Rathburn Law if you have been arrested for declining a breathalyzer test or if you are facing a DUI charge. Our attorneys have relevant experience defending persons accused of misdemeanors and felony DUIs in Brownsburg, IN.
Depending on the facts of your DUI charges, we can argue for less severe penalties or the dismissal of the charges. Our experienced DUI defense attorneys from Brownsburg will take control of the case and deliver the best possible outcome.
Call us on 317.671.8965 now to get started. We are here to protect your legal rights and interests.