Most DUI charges in Indianapolis are misdemeanors, a slight smack on the back of the hand for a typical poor choice. However, there are situations where the prosecutor will take on this DUI charges and push it to a felony level.
Facing a DUI or OWI, Operating With Intoxication, charge is scary enough without having to consider the possibilities of a felony conviction. Here’s how to handle a felony DUI or OWI charge in IN.
Deciding When You Need A Drunk Driving Defense Attorney
Let’s start out first, do you even need a lawyer? A drunk driving defense attorney can guide you through the process. They can help you with everything from discovering evidence to mitigation.
Most people facing a felony DUI need the help of a lawyer.
Are You Certainly Facing Felony Charges?
Most cases of drunk driving in IN are misdemeanors. However, there are a few factors that can take these charges to felony status.
These factors include:
- Driver’s BAC level
- Number of prior convictions
- Type of prior convictions
- Age of passengers
- Surrounding situations such as harm to a person
If the DUI includes driving with a minor in the car, you are probably facing a felony charge. Also, a second DUI conviction would be a felony, and causing harm or death to anyone would be a Level 5 felony at least.
Charges for Driving With a Minor or Past Conviction
If you were taken in on a DUI with a minor in the car you need legal help. In fact, you will likely need help beyond this felony charge. The possible penalty of an OWI with a minor is a Level 6 felony.
A drunk driving defense attorney can help you confront the circumstances of your charge. It’s important to know that a Level 6 felony often requires jail time and a fine. The base level for a DUI in Indiana is for 0-910 days in jail. The fines can go as high as $10,000.
What Can An Indianapolis DUI Lawyer Do?
Any DUI attorney in IN should know how to help you reframe your situation. There are a few aspects of your arrest or detainment that are critical.
A DUI attorney should question whether the initial stop was legal. They should also investigate if your detention was legal. Where you even at the legal limit?
Other questions such as whether there was probable cause or not should be brought up for review. Cops must also follow very strict procedures. Did they do that? Did the cops follow NHTSA requirements?
There are a lot of areas that need a thorough review. An Indianapolis DUI lawyer should set out a plan specific to your case.
After a thorough review of the strengths of your case and the weaknesses too, a lawyer should have a plan to help. The ideal resolution is no conviction but that’s not always possible.
Instead, a lawyer may work to challenge pieces of evidence, plan plea options, or prepare for trial.
Challenging a piece of evidence is possible as there is the possibility of evidence mishandling. A lawyer can also challenge evidence that wasn’t obtained the right way. So if the cop who gave you the field sobriety test did not follow regulations, that may not be used.
For plea options, it’s unfortunate, but sometimes necessary. Plea options might include an AMS. An AMS is an Alternate Misdemeanor Sentence.
The idea behind this option is that the AMS takes the place of the felony conviction.
If the case goes to trial, the attorney should then prepare to reduce the impact of the conviction. Preparation for trial may be a lengthy process. But having an attorney by your side can impact the end result.
Do You Have Options Besides Jail Time?
Jail time is pretty straightforward. However, there are other options for confinement. A felony DUI requires a minimum of 6 months of confinement, not specifically time in jail.
There is the opportunity for both work release as well as home detention. Work release means that you’ll live in confinement but you can leave only to go to work. Home detention, or house arrest, let you serve the time of confinement in your home.
An Indiana DUI Attorney Can Help
Contact an Indianapolis DUI lawyer if you believe that you’re facing felony charges for your most recent DUI. A DUI attorney can help you better understand the possible consequences and put up a good fight in the hopes of coming out with a positive resolution. Contact the Rathburn Law Office P.C. for DUI defense to help you navigate your felony charge.