Do you like to enjoy an alcoholic drink from time to time? If yes — do you know that getting charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol can result in severe consequences that would haunt you for the rest of your life?
Driving a motor vehicle while drunk in Indiana and across the U.S. can be a felony offense. You will need a competent DUI defense lawyer to defend you against a DUI charge to get the case dismissed or reduce your penalties.
If you are facing a DUI charge in Hamilton County, Indiana, we at Rathburn Law should be your first call. Our Hamilton County DUI defense lawyers are willing and ready to leverage their years of experience to help you fight your DUI charge. Schedule your free case evaluation today to find out how we can help.
What Is the BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) Limit in Indiana?
When facing a DUI charge, one of the terms you will often hear being used by the arresting officer or the prosecutor is BAC, an acronym for Blood Alcohol Content level. BAC is the amount of alcohol in your blood. This measurement of how drunk you are and how much alcohol has impaired the normal functioning of your body.
Generally, the more alcohol you consume, the higher your BAC level would be, and vice versa. However, two people can drink the same amount of alcohol but have different BAC readings. This is because how the body handles alcohol depends on age, height, weight, gender, and metabolism.
A higher BAC level means that adverse effects of alcohol on your body, such as clouding judgment, impairing dexterities, and slowing down reaction time, will be more amplified. As a result, you will be more likely to cause a traffic accident if you drive a motor vehicle.
Legal Drinking Limits for Safe Driving in Indiana
Our reputable Hamilton County DUI defense lawyers recommend that all residents of the region understand the legal drinking limits for safe driving in Indiana to be on the safe side of the law.
Here’s a breakdown of the legal drunkenness limits in Indiana:
- Private drivers aged 21 years and above are considered to have exceeded the legal drunkenness limits if their BAC level measures 0.08% or more.
- Drivers of commercial vehicles are regarded to be drunk beyond the legal limit if their BAC level measures 0.04% or higher.
- Drivers below the age of 21 are considered drunk beyond the legal limit if their BAC level is at 0.02% or more.
You should note that just because the state law has set the legal drunk driving limit for drivers at 0.08%, it doesn’t mean that it’s safe for you to drive when you are intoxicated. As a matter of fact, at a 0.04% BAC level, your judgment may already be compromised. This is why commercial drivers aren’t allowed to get drunk beyond this point.
At a 0.06% BAC level, your ability to drive safely will be massively compromised. You are twice as likely to find yourself in a fatal vehicle collision as compared to a completely sober driver.
How Do Police Find Out Your BAC Level?
Indiana state law allows police officers to subject you to several tests to determine whether you are under the influence of alcohol and how drunk you are. These tests include the standard field sobriety test, breathalyzer test, blood test, and urine test.
The standard field sobriety test is commonly administered by a police officer who is a drug recognition expert as a preliminary test to determine whether you are drunk or not. A drug recognition expert is a police officer with advanced training in ascertaining a DUI suspect’s drug impairment level.
Once a police officer suspects that your driving might be impaired by alcohol, they may go on to administer a breathalyzer test to determine your BAC level. The breathalyzer device will provide the officer with your BAC level reading on the spot. If you exceed the legal limit for your driver category, you will be arrested and charged with DUI in Hamilton County.
If the officer suspects that you are not only drunk but also intoxicated with other drugs, they may take you to the police station or nearby medical facility to collect your blood or urine sample. Your blood sample can only be collected by a qualified medical professional.
Suppose you have been in a vehicle accident and suffered injuries that make it difficult to take a breathalyzer test or give a urine sample. In that case, the police officer will ask the medical staff at the scene or the hospital to collect your blood sample. Testing urine and blood samples for BAC levels often take two to three weeks for results to be available.
Call Rathburn Law immediately after being arrested for or charged with a DUI in Hamilton County. The sooner our DUI defense lawyers get started fighting your DUI case, the better it will be for you.
What Penalties Can I Face for a DUI in Indiana?
If you are convicted of a DUI charge in Indiana, you will likely face penalties like jail time, fines, and suspension of your driver’s license. The severity of the penalties will depend on whether you are a first-time DUI offender or a repeat DUI, the circumstances surrounding your DUI charge, and the efficacy of your DUI defense lawyer. Our Hamilton County DUI defense lawyers are the most prolific attorneys in the region who’ll do everything they can to get you the best outcome for your DUI defense case.
Here’s a breakdown of DUI conviction penalties in Indiana:
- A first-time DUI conviction can result in 90 days to two years of driver’s license suspension.
- A repeat DUI conviction of an offender convicted between five to 10 years earlier can lead to 180 days to two years of driver’s license suspension.
- A second DUI conviction may result in a mandatory 180 hours of community service or a jail term of at least five days. The offender may also have to partake in an alcohol assessment and may also be directed to attend and complete a treatment program.
- A second DUI conviction within five years of the first DUI conviction can lead to a one to two-year driver’s license suspension.
- A third DUI conviction may result in a mandatory 360 hours of community service or a jail term of at least ten days. The offender may also have to partake in an alcohol assessment and may be directed to visit a treatment center.
Based on BAC Levels
- A drunk driver with a 0.08% or higher BAC level who causes serious bodily injury to another faces a jail term of six months to three years and a fine of up to $10,000. The jail term is two to eight years if it’s a second DUI conviction within five years of the first DUI conviction. There’s also the possibility of a two to five-year driver’s license suspension.
- A drunk driver with a 0.08% to 0.15% BAC level faces a jail term of up to 60 days and an up to $500 fine.
- A drunk driver with a 0.15% or higher BAC level faces a jail term of up to 1 year and an up to $5,000 fine.
- A second DUI conviction for a drunk driver caught with a passenger under 18 years of age in the vehicle within five years of their first DUI conviction faces a jail term of six to three years and an up to $10,000 fine.
- A drunk driver with a 0.08% or higher BAC level who causes the death of another faces a jail term of two to eight years and an up to $10,000 fine. If it’s a second DUI conviction within five years of the first DUI conviction, the jail term may be between six to 20 years. There’s also the possibility of a two to five-year driver’s license suspension.
- A drunk driver with a 0.15% or higher BAC level who causes the death of another faces a jail term of six to 20 years and an up to $10,000 fine.
- A drunk driver who causes the dispatching of emergency medical services to the scene of the accident has to make a $10,000 restitution.
- A second DUI conviction within ten years of the first DUI conviction can result in the judge ordering the offender to equip their motor vehicle with an ignition interlock system until they enroll in and complete an alcohol treatment program.
- A commercial driver convicted of a DUI for driving any vehicle will have their commercial driver’s license revoked for one year. If the DUI conviction relates to operating a commercial vehicle carrying hazardous substances, the revocation period will be three years. A second DUI conviction may lead to a lifetime revocation of their commercial driver’s license.
- Drunk drivers under the age of 21 with a 0.02% to 0.08% BAC level may face up to one year of driver’s license suspension and up to a $500 fine. Those with a 0.08% or higher BAC level will be subject to similar DIU penalties as adult offenders.
Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Indiana?
Indiana is an “implied consent state,” meaning once you are seated in the driver’s seat of a vehicle, you give law enforcement officers implied consent to test you for drug use. If you decline to take a breathalyzer test once asked by a police officer, your license may be confiscated, and you may also be arrested.
You will automatically be penalized with at least one year of driver’s license suspension. The driver’s license suspension period will be extended to two years if you already have a prior DUI conviction. During the duration of your driver’s license suspension, you can’t access a hardship license.
Contact Rathburn Law immediately after you have been arrested for declining a breathalyzer test in Hamilton County, and our experienced DUI defense lawyers will come to your aid. Our attorneys have immense experience defending charges of declining breathalyzer tests.
What Is a Felony DUI in Indiana?
A DUI offense is usually a misdemeanor in Indiana, but it can be categorized as a felony under certain aggravating circumstances. The aggravating circumstances are:
- You have earned a second DUI conviction under seven years of the previous DUI conviction – a level 6 felony.
- Your DUI conviction is associated with driving drunk with an underage passenger in the vehicle – a level 6 felony.
- You have a previous DUI conviction associated with causing death or serious bodily injury to another – a level 5 felony.
A felony DUI conviction can tarnish your record forever and severely harm your personal, social, and professional prospects for life. Our DUI defense lawyers near Hamilton County can help you avoid such felony DUI convictions.
Common Defenses in Hamilton County DUI Cases
Our attorneys representing you will put up a spirited defense against your refusal to take a breath test or the DUI charge you face. This will involve arguing that:
- The prosecution has failed to prove that you were the one driving the vehicle.
- The arresting officer didn’t have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop, detain, or arrest you.
- The arresting officer failed to read you your Miranda rights at the appropriate time.
- The arresting officer failed to give implied consent warnings. They didn’t inform you of the consequences of declining to take a drug test.
- The arresting officer failed to administer or evaluate the field sobriety tests correctly.
- You have a medical condition, eat food, or use oral products that can render the BAC level readings from a breathalyzer inaccurate.
- The blood or urine sample was mislabeled or stored poorly, rendering the BAC test results inaccurate.
How Can a Hamilton County DUI Defense Lawyer Help Me?
Our DUI defense attorneys from Hamilton County are experts in defending persons charged with DUI offenses at all stages of the case. You can expect our lawyers to cast doubt on the evidence presented by the prosecution to weaken the case against you. This will likely result in the prosecution offering you a plea deal or dropping the charge.
Our attorneys may also convince the judge to hand you lighter penalties or dismiss the case. The DUI defense provided by our experienced legal team can also help you avoid ending up with a felony DUI on your record.
Contact Our DUI Defense Lawyers in Hamilton County Today For Legal Guidance
You should never let your DUI case proceed without the guidance of a competent DUI defense attorney. At Rathburn Law, we provide the region’s most exceptional DUI defense services.
Our lead attorney, Charles Rathburn, has the relevant experience and resources needed to defend people charged with DUI across Indiana and deliver the most favorable outcomes. Call 317.671.8965 for a free DUI defense consultation. Get started now to find out more about your legal rights.