What Happens Immediately After a DUI Arrest in Indiana?

Getting arrested for a criminal offense is serious, including for a DUI (known in Indiana as an OWI). Your arrest sets in motion a series of events that could lead to numerous legal penalties, including jail time.

The best decision you can make after a DUI arrest is to retain an Indianapolis DUI lawyer. Rathburn Law Office P.C. is ready to represent you with the professionalism and legal skills you deserve. Call for a free case evaluation today.

Will I Be Released From Jail?

The answer to this question depends largely on the nature of the offense and your criminal history. Law enforcement agencies usually release those arrested for relatively less serious DUI offenses within a day of the arrest.

Posting bail may be a necessary condition, with the amount dependent on the charges you are facing. DUI crimes involving injury victims are obviously more serious and may keep the suspect in jail.

What Happens at the Initial Hearing?

If you didn’t call an Indianapolis DUI lawyer after being arrested, it’s strongly advised you hire one at this stage. An initial hearing will be held before you are let out of jail. The judge will notify you of the charges against you and inform you of your legal rights.

Other issues that may be addressed at the initial hearing include:

  • Requests for bail reductions;
  • Whether you may qualify for a pre-trial release program;
  • Probable cause, which must exist to justify your arrest;
  • Overview of the evidence the police have against you;
  • Whether to grant you special driving privileges.

If law enforcement lacks sufficient evidence, there may not be probable cause. Your Indianapolis OWI attorney can possibly attack this element.

If the judge decides there is probable cause that you committed a DUI offense, your driver’s license will be suspended. At that point, your lawyer may ask the judge to grant special driving privileges despite the suspension. These privileges will allow you to drive for essential purposes such as work.

At the end of the initial hearing, your subsequent court dates will be scheduled. Between the hearing and the next court date, your lawyer will review the state’s evidence. Your attorney will also acquire evidence that refutes or mitigates the severity of the DUI charges.

Initial hearing in a DUI case

Discovery and What It Means for Your Case

Before you have court again, discovery will need to be conducted. This is an important phase that is best handled by a knowledgeable DUI lawyer. The arresting police officer and prosecutor must turn over their evidence to your attorney.

Said evidence may include:

  • Results of a DUI blood or chemical test;
  • Observations of drunk driving and intoxication made by the arresting officer;
  • Dashcam or body cam footage of your DUI arrest.

Your DUI attorney in Indiana will review the strength of this evidence and advise what to do next. Your lawyer may recommend fighting the charges or trying to negotiate a lenient plea bargain. Discovery could last a while, depending for example on how long the lab results of your chemical test take to return.

The Pretrial Conference After a DUI Arrest

Defense attorneys and prosecutors conduct pretrial conferences to discuss the evidence and decide what happens next. Your lawyer may be able to have the charges dropped at this stage if the evidence against you is weak.

Another possible scenario is to negotiate a plea deal for lessened charges against you. In general, an Indianapolis DUI/OWI attorney will work to cast doubt on the strength of the evidence.

If an acceptable plea deal cannot be worked out and the charges stand, a trial will be necessary. A felony DUI trial will require a jury. For a misdemeanor DUI, you can request either a jury trial or a bench trial in which a judge hears the case.

You will also need to decide whether to plead guilty or not guilty. This decision should be made after serious discussion with your Indianapolis DUI lawyer.

Speak With a DUI Lawyer in Indiana Today

A DUI arrest is a stressful experience, which is why hiring a lawyer early is so important. It’s also recommended that you don’t speak with the police except to request an attorney. Let us handle your DUI case from there. Give Rathburn Law Office P.C. a call today.