Should I Hire a DUI Lawyer for My First DUI?

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If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Indianapolis, you’re probably scared. Whether it’s your first DUI or your third, it’s never a good thing to have to go to court by yourself. There is a lot at stake. You’re facing fines, court fees and the very real possibility of losing your license.

A lot of people think that just because they’re charged with DUI, they’ll be found guilty. And, most of the time, this is true. Depending on the evidence the State has and how the officer acted during your arrest, you may be found guilty.

If you’re facing your first DUI, it’s a good idea to retain an experienced DUI attorney. There is a lot at stake and you don’t have a lot of time. Your court date is usually scheduled within a few weeks. This is when you’ll find out what consequences you’re facing.

Penalties for First DUI in Indiana

If you’re charged with your first DUI in Indiana, you’re facing some pretty stiff penalties. No matter how perfect your driving record is, the court has minimum penalties they have to impose.

The penalties for a first offense OWI (operating while intoxicated) in Indiana include:

  • Fines up to $500 (This goes up to $5,000 if your BAC was .15 or higher)
  • 30-60 days in jail (This increases to 1 year if your BAC was .15 or higher)
  • Suspension of driver’s license for a period of 90 days to 2 years
  • Ignition Interlock device requirement
  • Alcohol/drug abuse assessment
  • Possible requirement of victim impact panel

If you’re lucky, the judge will lean toward the lower ends when it comes to fines and jail time. As for your license suspension, there is a chance that you can receive restricted driving privileges after your license has been suspended for 30 days.

It’s important to note that, in Indiana, if you’ve been charged with an OWI, the DMV will automatically suspend your license. You only have ten (10) days to request a hearing with the DMV to prevent this from happening.

How Can a Drunk Driving Defense Attorney Help?

If you go into court alone, you’ll be lucky to get 3 minutes with the prosecutor. He’ll ask that the judge impose the standard penalties. You’ll get hit with a few hundred dollars in fines, multiple court fees, and a license suspension. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the judge probably won’t impose jail time. But that’s not a guarantee.

If you have an attorney, things will go a lot differently. Here are some of the things your drunk driving defense attorney can do for you:

  • He’ll request a continuance so he can request discovery from the State
  • He’ll demand copies of the BAC test results and calibration reports for the machine
  • He’ll investigate to see if there are any issues with the arrest itself
  • He can talk to the prosecutor and see if he can get the charges dismissed or reduced
  • He’ll challenge the State’s evidence

Just the fact that your attorney has a working relationship with the prosecutor can make a huge difference in your case. Most DUI defense attorneys deal with the same prosecutors all the time. If he has a good working relationship with the prosecutor, he may be able to get a favorable plea deal for you.

Your Indiana DUI Attorney Will Raise Possible Defenses

There are defenses to a DUI charge. You probably aren’t familiar with these defenses. Your attorney is very familiar with them. He knows exactly how to raise these defenses. He also knows what proof is required for each type of defense.

Here are some of the defenses available in Indiana for a DUI charge:

  • The traffic stop itself was not lawful
  • The police conducted an illegal search
  • Police didn’t read your Miranda rights
  • The breathalyzer machine wasn’t working properly
  • You weren’t operating a motor vehicle at the time of the arrest
  • Your BAC was not above the legal limits

In addition to some of these defenses, there are other things your attorney can bring up. If the prosecutor is alleging that your case calls for enhanced penalties, your attorney can challenge this. For example, the penalties are increased if any of the following are true:

  • You have a passenger in the car who is younger than 18
  • You were in an accident where people were injured
  • Your BAC is .15 or higher

All of these things can make a world of difference in your case.

Contact a DUI defense attorney in Indianapolis today. The consultation is free and an experienced lawyer will review your case and let you know how best to proceed.

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