Published in Criminal Law on May 9, 2022.
Getting arrested for a DUI in Indiana is a stressful experience. If this is your first DUI arrest, you may not know what to expect from the process. This uncertainty will only add to what is already a challenging time. Learning about the DUI process in Indiana can provide some much-needed relief.
One of the most concerning elements of a DUI arrest is the very real (and almost certain) possibility of a license suspension. There are two types of license suspensions that come along with a DUI conviction.
When a police officer believes you are driving under the influence of alcohol, they may ask you to take a chemical test. Usually, this is either a blood or chemical breath test. This is a much more involved (and, ideally accurate) test than a portable breath test that you might be offered at the scene of a traffic stop. Both of these more involved tests must be administered at a different location than the traffic stop. If you take the test and have a blood-alcohol level of less than .08%, you pass and you could be off the hook. Sometimes, the officer may still be convinced you are under the influence of something, so they may arrest you despite the low BAC level reading.
If you refuse to take a chemical test when the officer has a reasonable belief that you have been driving under the influence, your license will be suspended for at least one year. If you take the test and fail, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license upon being notified by a court if you are charged. Administrative suspensions are generally up to 180 days for those who fail a chemical test.
Some drivers are eligible to continue driving for limited purposes, such as going to work or school. However, the court may require you to install an ignition interlock device on your car before allowing you to drive.
In addition to an administrative suspension, a criminal court may also suspend your license. However, unlike an administrative suspension, a court will only suspend your license if you are actually convicted of a DUI offense. Thus, these suspensions are not immediate and take place only after you plead or are found guilty.
The length of a criminal DUI license suspension varies depending on whether you have a prior conviction for DUI. There is a minimum suspension of 90 days for a first-time DUI conviction. Suspensions can be as long as 10 years for a multiple DUI offender. These are in addition to the administrative suspensions mentioned above.
Other Consequences of an Indiana DUI Conviction
Aside from the suspension of your driver’s license, the other consequences of a DUI only result from a conviction. This means if you are arrested for DUI but the case does not result in a conviction, the court cannot impose any punishment. However, if you plead guilty, or a judge or jury finds you guilty of DUI, you can face several serious and potentially life-altering consequences. Some of the possible consequences of a DUI conviction include:
- Jail time,
- Significant fines,
- License revocation, and
- Points added to your driving record.
The severity of the punishment will depend on whether the DUI is a misdemeanor or felony. In most cases, DUIs are misdemeanors. However, in any of the following situations, the government may bring felony charges after a DUI arrest:
- Causing an accident resulting in another’s serious injury or death;
- Driving under the influence with a minor in the car; or
- Having a prior DUI conviction in the past seven years.
Aside from these penalties, you will also experience the collateral consequences of having a felony criminal conviction on your record. For example, having a felony on your record may make it more difficult to obtain a job, get into school, or qualify for certain types of public benefits.
While a DUI arrest is certainly very serious, it does not mean that you will face the most severe consequences. There are many defenses to DUI charges. Additionally, even in cases that seem hopeless, an experienced Indiana criminal defense lawyer can help you to develop and pursue the best possible outcome in your situation.
Contact an Indiana DUI Defense Lawyer Today
If you’ve been arrested and are wondering what happens when you get a DUI, reach out to Eskew Law for immediate assistance. Our dedicated team of criminal defense lawyers has extensive experience handling both felony and misdemeanor DUI offenses on behalf of our many clients. We take an individual and strategic approach to every case we handle and always start off by listening intently.
We believe that by addressing your concerns, we can make the process easier for you while gaining a better understanding of how to best represent your interests. Contact us to learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable DUI attorneys.