Indianapolis DUI Attorney
DUI Charges Deserve a Strong Defense
Let One of Our Indianapolis DUI Attorneys Show You That Your Situation Isn’t Hopeless
The most committed crime in Indiana today is Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (DUI). People who would otherwise never come into contact with the criminal justice system can find themselves under arrest because they have had “one too many.”
The legal limit for Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) while driving in Indiana is .08. This amount can easily be reached with as little as three beers. The penalties for drunk driving in Indiana can be numerous and severe. If you are convicted of this type of offense, you may lose your driving privileges for up to two years. If you have multiple drunk driving convictions, you may be required to serve at least twenty days in the county jail, face felony charges, and can even lose your driving privileges for life.
Understanding Indiana DUI Laws
Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) can be confusing, especially when trying to understand the specific laws and legal codes involved. If you are facing DUI charges in Indiana, having a basic grasp of the relevant state statutes and codes can help you better comprehend the case against you. Let’s take a look at laws related to DUI in Indiana:
Indiana Code 9-30-5 – Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated
This code defines the act of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and lays out the penalties. Some key points:
- It is illegal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated, which involves intoxication on alcohol, controlled substances, or other drugs
- The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08%
- Penalties include fines, license suspension, and possible jail time
Indiana Code 9-30-6 – Operating a Vehicle with Controlled Substance
This code deals with DUI charges involving controlled substances other than alcohol. A chemical test showing metabolites or controlled substances present may support a DUI charge without a BAC reading.
Indiana Code 9-30-7 – Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Endangering a Person
This code imposes felony charges if someone is endangered while driving under the influence. Penalties are more severe.
Indiana Code 9-30-4-8 – Refusal to Submit to Chemical Test
Refusing to submit to a certified chemical test after being informed of the implied consent law can lead to additional penalties, including mandatory license suspension.
These primary codes and laws form the backbone of DUI cases in Indiana. An experienced Indiana DUI defense attorney can analyze the details of your specific charges and build an appropriate defense strategy.
What you need to know about roadside sobriety tests in Indianapolis
Being pulled over for a suspected DUI is an unnerving and stressful experience. When the officer asks you to perform roadside sobriety tests like walking in a straight line or standing on one leg, you may feel compelled to comply in hopes it will prove your innocence. However, agreeing to roadside sobriety testing during a DUI stop can potentially hurt your case down the road. Here’s what you need to know about refusing field sobriety tests in Indiana.
The Roadside Sobriety Tests Are Voluntary
It’s important to understand that roadside sobriety tests are always voluntary. An officer might pressure you or imply that refusing reflects guilt, but you are within your rights to politely decline to participate. They cannot force you or penalize you for refusing. However, refusing a chemical BAC test after arrest is a different story, leading to mandatory license suspension.
The Tests Are Inherently Unreliable
Standardized field sobriety tests were devised to indicate impairment based on very specific scoring criteria. However, roadside conditions are far from ideal, and factors like weather, terrain, lighting, and nerves can affect performance. Someone who is stone cold sober could easily fail a balancing test after an unexpected curb trip. The tests do not accurately correlate with your true level of impairment.
Roadside Sobriety Tests Can Only Hurt Your DUI Case
Any small mistakes during the roadside tests, even if unrelated to intoxication, will count against you. Officers are looking for specific clues and will mark down missteps without considering outside factors. Poor performance due to natural clumsiness, injuries, or disabilities could be incorrectly chalked up to inebriation. The tests record flaws, not proof of innocence.
Stay Silent and Protect Your Rights
Politely refusing to participate in roadside sobriety testing allows you to remain silent and avoid self-incrimination. The 5th Amendment protects you from having to give potentially damaging evidence. You can exercise this right by clearly stating your refusal and then requesting to speak with a lawyer before answering any further questions.
Refusing to perform roadside sobriety tests means avoiding unreliable tests that may improperly indicate intoxication. Polite refusal protects your rights without constituting resistance. Speak with an experienced Indiana DUI defense attorney if you have been charged following a DUI stop. Understanding your rights is critical to building an effective defense.
The #1 Rule to Remember if You’re Arrested for DUI in Indianapolis
Whenever you are arrested or detained for DUI or any criminal charge in Indianapolis, the #1 rule to remember is, “SHUT UP.” Everything you say can and will be used against you. Everything is being recorded and could potentially be used as evidence against you. Cooperate with police. Do not resist in any way. Keep it polite and respectful. But if asked a question, simply say, “I don’t want to say anything without my lawyer present.”
What happens when you are arrested for DUI in Indianapolis?
If you find yourself facing DUI charges in Indianapolis, it’s important to understand the typical process following an arrest and know your legal rights. Here is what you can expect after a DUI arrest in Indianapolis:
The Traffic Stop and Field Sobriety Tests
If an officer pulls you over and suspects you are impaired, they will likely ask you to step out of the vehicle and undergo field sobriety testing on the roadside. These can include balance and coordination tests. You have the right to refuse such testing, and in most cases, you should do so.
Breathalyzer or Blood Test
In Indiana, you are legally required to submit to a chemical BAC test after being arrested for DUI. This is usually a breathalyzer at the police station but may involve a blood draw. Refusal will result in mandatory license suspension.
Booking and Processing
After your arrest, you will be handcuffed, searched, “mug shots” taken, and fingerprinted at the police station. Your personal belongings will be confiscated. You will be held in a cell, sometimes called the “drunk tank” until sober or eligible for bail.
Release or Continued Detention
For a first offense DUI in Indianapolis, you will typically be released after sobering up rather than detained. You will need to post bail in most cases. However, repeat offenders may be held without bond.
Prior to your release, you will be given a citation with the charges you face and court date.
If you haven’t contacted an Indianapolis DUI attorney yet, now is the time to do it.
Meeting the Prosecutor
Within a few weeks, your DUI attorney will meet with the prosecutor to discuss your possible defenses and options. He may negotiate a dismissal if errors occurred during arrest or discuss entering a plea if best in your circumstance.
DUI Court Dates and Trial
If no plea deal is reached, and your case is not dismissed, you will go to trial. You will likely be required to appear in Indianapolis City Court multiple times before your trial date.
Your DUI attorney will discuss your options with you and plan your defense prior to your trial. During the trial, your DUI attorney will represent you. They will do most of the talking while in court. The will examine witnesses, challenge the evidence and fight for the best possible outcome for you.
Potential Penalties for DUI
A DUI conviction can carry heavy fines, license suspension, probation, alcohol education classes and even jail time. An experienced DUI attorney can help minimize penalties or even get charges reduced or dismissed where appropriate.
You Do Not Have to Plead Guilty to DUI Charges
Many DUI attorneys will tell you your only choice is to plead guilty, and sometimes it is. But often, entering a guilty plea is not the best strategy. Dozens of defenses can be used to clear you of the charges.
Despite what many say, not everyone is convicted of DUI.
What are Potential Defenses for DUI Arrests in Indiana?
Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) does not necessarily mean you will be convicted. There are dozens of defenses an experienced DUI attorney may use to challenge the charges against you.
Here are some of the most common defenses used in DUI cases in Indiana:
Lack of Probable Cause for the Traffic Stop
The traffic stop itself needs to be justified. If the officer did not have legal probable cause to pull you over in the first place, any evidence gathered afterward could be thrown out. This may require witnesses or other evidence that shows no probable cause existed.
Faulty Breath or Blood Test Results
From improper procedure to equipment errors and maintenance issues, several factors could lead to inaccurate BAC results. A deviation as small as .01% could make a difference in a case right at the legal limit.
Breathalyzer equipment requires regular calibration and certification that it is accurate and in proper working order. The police department is required to keep a record of the calibration tests. Any gaps in the record could bring the accuracy of the equipment into doubt.
Some prescriptions and even over-the-counter medications can cause false positives on breathalyzers. Commonly, certain cough and cold medicines contain a small amount of alcohol that can skew test results. A skilled DUI attorney may raise this as one of your defenses. If no blood serum alcohol tests were conducted to confirm your blood alcohol levels, the prosecution may not be able to convict you on DUI charges.
Rising Blood Alcohol Defense
This may sound like a strange DUI defense, but it is valid. It takes time for alcohol to be absorbed into the bloodstream. If you were arrested for DUI and your blood was drawn or breathalyzer administered at the police station. Your BAC may be higher than when you were driving simply because your body has had more time to process the alcohol. Your BAC may have been below the legal limit while driving but peaked after being tested later at the station.
Illegal Stop, Search, or Arrest Procedures
Law enforcement must act within the scope of the law every step of the way during a DUI investigation. Any procedural missteps by the officer may provide opportunities to dispute evidence. Police officers make mistakes all the time. It is not uncommon for a procedural mistake by police to result in a dismissal of DUI charges.
Violation of Miranda Rights
If the arresting officer failed to read you your Miranda rights or forced you to answer questions in custody without your DUI attorney present, any statement you made to police and any evidence gathered as a result of that questioning may be suppressed.
The most successful DUI defenses rely on skilled trial experience and thorough case review. An Indiana DUI attorney will evaluate the details of your unique case, build an airtight defense strategy, and fight relentlessly for the best possible outcome. Don’t leave the fate of your case up to chance.
How a DUI Conviction Can Seriously Affect Your Life
In Indiana, a DUI conviction can wreak havoc in many aspects of your life. Here are some of the major ways a DUI can negatively impact you.
· Financial Hardships
A DUI conviction leads to fines huge fines, skyrocketing insurance rates, and DUI attorney fees. The total costs can exceed $10,000. Lost work time and income reduction from license suspension further strain finances. Many people struggle to keep their heads above water after a DUI conviction.
· Employment Troubles
A DUI makes finding a job far more challenging. Employers often conduct background checks and are reluctant to hire someone with a DUI. Some professions like bus driving and security jobs may be off limits for people with DUI convictions. If your current job requires you to drive, a DUI conviction will likely result in you losing your job.
· Limitations on Travel
Countries like Canada strictly prohibit people with DUIs from entering. Many travelers are turned away at the border for that reason. Future visa applications may also be denied or require additional steps required to obtain a visa. Enjoying international travel becomes very difficult.
· Lost Driving Privileges
A DUI conviction can result in the loss of driving privileges. If your license is reinstated, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device. For repeat DUIs driving privileges may be suspended for a much longer time.
· Stigma and Reputation Damage
A DUI arrest and conviction often leads to very public shaming. Mugshots, news stories, social media posts, etc. can cause extreme embarrassment and damage reputations, even if charges are later reduced or dismissed. In this day of social media, news of your arrest could circulate amongst your extended peer group in a few hours. Once the genie is out of the bottle, there is no getting it back in.
· Family Stress
The financial, emotional, and legal toll of a DUI takes a heavy toll on family members as well. There is often increased conflict, reduced quality time, and overall anxiety and tension within the household.
A DUI has far-reaching personal and professional consequences beyond just criminal penalties. This is why it’s critical to have an experienced DUI defense attorney on your side mitigating damages. Don’t let a DUI derail your future.
Hiring a Private Attorney vs. Public Defender
After a DUI arrest, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is critical. But can a free public defender provide the same quality of legal representation? Here are some key differences between the two:
· Experience Handling DUIs
Most private DUI attorneys focus solely on drunk driving defense and handle dozens of cases each year. They have extensive knowledge of DUI laws and courtroom experience specific to these complex cases. Public defenders handle all types of criminal cases and typically have less specialized DUI experience.
· Time and Resources
Public defenders have extremely high caseloads and limited time to dedicate to each client. Private attorneys only take on a manageable number of cases to devote ample time and resources. This level of focus can uncover more evidence and defense strategies.
· Individualized Defense
DUI cases require crafting a customized defense centered on each client’s arrest details and background. Public defenders often rely more on plea deals to resolve caseloads efficiently. Private attorneys do intensive prep work for each case.
· Legal Skills
Private practice attracts many of the most skilled young lawyers aiming to gain trail experience quickly. Public defenders tend to be overburdened and burned out. This impacts motivation and quality of legal skills.
· Relationships with Prosecutors
Through frequent interactions, private DUI attorneys build relationships with prosecutors and understand their approaches. This facilitates better plea negotiations. Public defenders have less leverage or rapport in many jurisdictions.
If budget is a factor, using a public defender is better than going it alone. But typically, you get what you pay for in terms of experience, attention, and outcomes. Investing in a specialized DUI attorney offers the best odds of beating serious charges.
Don’t Make the Mistake of Hiring a “Read ‘Em and Plead ‘Em” Attorney!
Many people charged with a DUI offense make the mistake of believing that their situation is hopeless and hire attorneys who recommend quick plea agreements. This is the worst thing that you can do for your situation. The consequences of being convicted of a DUI offense if your attorneys aren’t fighting for you are numerous and expensive, and can include:
- Alcohol Monitoring at a cost of $11.00 per day
- Carrying High-Risk Insurance for a period of at least three years
- Ignition Interlock devices that can cost $400.00 or more per month just so you can drive
- Mandatory substance abuse classes
- Court costs, fines, and probation costs that can start approaching $2,000.00
The experienced DUI attorneys at Razumich & Associates can help you reduce or even eliminate these penalties.
Hire Indianapolis DUI Attorneys Who Will Fight for You
The attorneys at Razumich & Associates have worked in many Indiana counties helping people who have found themselves charged with a drunk driving offense, and we can help you put this matter behind you with minimal impact on your life. Criminal charges should never be taken lightly, and you should not make the mistake of thinking that the potential penalties of this offense will not be severe just because you may have no previous record. You deserve an attorney who will fight to safeguard your rights and ensure that everything that can be done for your defense will be done for your defense. Contact us today and start the process of getting your life back!