Protecting Your License Against DUI/OWI Charges
Being arrested for DUI/OWI can be a very scary experience. While a first offense may not seem like a serious problem, it can make any future penalties more severe in addition to the initial consequences of a conviction.
When you’ve been charged with DUI, one of the skilled criminal defense attorneys of Harper and Harper, LLC can help you pursue the optimal results in your case from our Valparaiso office. If you or a family member find yourself in this position in Porter County or northwest Indiana, you should immediately meet with an attorney to discuss your rights.
Do Not Be Caught Off Guard By Your Charges
When reviewing the tickets you have received and the charges against you, you may discover that you have been charged with more than one count. This is NOT unusual when someone has been cited for OWI. Indiana law allows for several different levels/types of charges. However, if you are convicted, the court will usually only allow you to be convicted of one of these charges.
Whether it is referred to as driving under the influence (DUI) or operating while intoxicated (OWI), it is a serious and often complicated offense. As used on this website, there is no difference between DUI/OWI — both are used in reference to the charge in Indiana of operating while intoxicated. Not only are there the traditional penalties of possible jail time and fines, but a DUI or OWI charge and conviction, whether as a misdemeanor or felony, can also lead to driver’s license suspension. Multiple DUI/OWI convictions can lead to permanent license suspension and even time in prison.
How Your License Could Be At Risk
Your driver’s license will be suspended even before a trial or a determination of your guilt or innocence. In the state of Indiana, being charged with an OWI results in an administrative license suspension of 180 days. Upon finding probable cause that you have tested above .08 blood alcohol content, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles will administratively suspend your license upon notice of the charge. This suspension will not be terminated until the case reaches some conclusion and/or disposition.
There are ways in which you can continue to drive while your license is suspended during the prosecution of your case. Whether you petition the court for a specialized driving privilege and/or an interlock device, commonly referred to as a “blow and go,” there are ways in which you can make a motion upon the court to continue driving during the pendency of your case. This is why it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney, as soon as possible, after your arrest.
Possible Consequences In Your Case
Depending on if this is your first OWI charge or your third or even fourth, you may be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. Moreover, the prosecution will consider if you submitted to a blood alcohol content (BAC) or other sobriety test, the level at which you tested, and whether you were involved in an accident, all of which can lead to more and enhanced charges and a longer license suspension. Every OWI case is different, and each case needs to be specifically researched to determine the legitimacy of the traffic stop itself and the level of charges alleged against you. We also understand that you may have questions about your case, and we have taken the time to answer some questions below.
How can I defend against these charges?
It can feel like there is no way to defend yourself against these charges, but we may be able to find some opportunities, such as the police conducting an illegal traffic stop; lack of proper testing to confirm drunkenness; you were more intoxicated when you were tested than when you were arrested; and lack of evidence or questionable evidence.
Should I take a breathalyzer at my traffic stop?
You have the right to refuse a breathalyzer, but doing so usually creates more problems than solutions, including the suspension of your license for one year. It is best to follow police directions at the traffic stop and fight it in court later on.
Get The Defense You Deserve
The attorneys and staff of Harper and Harper, LLC, can help you or a loved one navigate the OWI charges, defend you against such charges, and help you, if possible, find a way in which to continue to drive during the prosecution of your case. Call us at 219-733-8837 or email us here to schedule your free initial consultation today.