Being charged with a DUI in Indiana is a serious matter, and it is important to take action quickly. As Indiana has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country, you must get legal advice from a qualified attorney specializing in criminal defense cases.
If you have already been convicted of a DUI in the past, the consequences are even more severe. With your freedom, money, driving privileges, and reputation at stake, it should go without saying that hiring an experienced Indianapolis DUI lawyer is an absolute necessity.
Why Choose Wruble Law LLC?
The best thing to do is contact an experienced Indianapolis criminal defense attorney who can provide you with the advice and guidance you need, like Stan Wruble at Wruble Law LLC. The Wruble Law team has over 25 years of experience defending clients facing DUI charges throughout Indiana and Indianapolis.
We offer free, no-obligation case reviews to discuss your case and provide you with the best defense strategy for your DUI or OWI situation. Call (317)-308-8584 or book your free case review online today.
What Is A DUI, And How Is It Different Than A OWI?
Broadly, both DUIs and OWIs refer to the same crime – operating a motor vehicle or other ambulatory device while under the influence of substances.
A DUI, which stands for “driving under the influence,” is usually used for alcohol-impaired driving. Most states across the country also refer to drunk driving as a DUI. While people use these phrases interchangeably (and it’s acceptable to do so in conversation), it’s important to know that formal charges and sentencing in Indiana are technically OWIs.
An OWI, which stands for “operating while intoxicated,” is a newer term that is intentionally broader to include more transportation categories. Since bicycles, motorized wheelchairs, rentable scooters, hoverboards, and other street-legal devices aren’t driven but operated, the OWI charge seeks to include other means of transportation that can be ridden while intoxicated.
Additionally, OWIs are broad enough to include other substances that can cause poor motor control and bad judgment. While alcohol use could be charged as an OWI, using any form of substance and operating some kind of device can also cause these charges to be brought against the accused.
For example, here are the Schedule I or Schedule II substances individuals could use and operate an ambulatory device or car:
- Prescription Drugs
- Ecstasy or MDMA
If an individual was caught with any of these controlled substances in their system while operating a vehicle or other device, they could be charged with an OWI.
How Do Indianapolis Police Officers Determine That a Driver Is Driving Under the Influence?
Indianapolis police officers are often on the roads looking for drunk drivers. That said, they keep their eyes open for any driving actions, mistakes, errors, or behaviors that may indicate that an individual is driving under the influence. The officer must have reasonable suspicion before pulling you over in Indiana, meaning they must have proof that something made them reasonably believe you were participating in a crime, such as drinking and driving. Reasonable suspicion can be swerving, slowly driving, or veering into other lanes.
If the officer has reasonable suspicion to pull you over, they will likely begin speaking with you and observing how you act. The goal of this encounter is to determine if their suspicion is correct that you are driving under the influence. Some of the factors they will be looking for are red eyes, slurred speech, and alcohol smell on your breath. If any of those factors are present, they may ask you to complete a series of field sobriety tests, which include:
- Standing on one leg
- Walking a straight line
- Following a moving object with your eyes without moving your head
The police officer may also ask you to take a breathalyzer test. This test will require you to blow into a device to determine if alcohol is in your system. If any alcohol is detected, the device will notify the officer about how much alcohol was found in your blood. You cannot have more than the legal limit of alcohol, or you may face DUI charges in Indiana.
DUI and OWI Convictions in Indiana
Under Indiana state law, drivers can be charged with an OWI if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs while operating a vehicle.
The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% for those over the age of 21, .02% for those under the age of 21, and .04% for drivers of commercial vehicles. No limit or guidelines exist for other substances (such as drugs) – any amount in a person’s blood can make someone guilty of at least a Class C misdemeanor.
Penalties For DUI And OWI Convictions In Indiana
Indiana takes OWI and DUI charges very seriously, and offenders who are convicted for the first time may face numerous penalties.
According to Indiana Code 9-30-5, which governs the sentencing of individuals found guilty of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, the severity of the sentencing is usually proportional to the amount of the substance found in the person.
Here are the sentence ranges for DUI and OWI convictions in Indiana, organized from least to most severe:
- Class C Misdemeanor: This charge is given to those with a BAC of .08 to .14 or evidence of a Schedule I or II drug/s in your system. Class C misdemeanors don’t necessarily come with required imprisonment time but could have a person spend 60 days in prison and face a fine of up to $500.
- Class A Misdemeanor: This charge is given to those with a BAC of greater than .15 OR if a person is found to be operating a vehicle in such a way that it endangers the lives of others on the road or in the car. Those guilty of Class A misdemeanors could face up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
- Level 6 Felony: This charge is given to an individual who has already received a DUI in the past seven years OR has a passenger under 18. Someone charged with a Level 6 Felony could receive 6 months to 2.5 years in prison (with a minimum advisory sentence of one year) and a potential fine of up to $10,000.
Level 5 and 6 felonies are typically given to individuals who are repeated OWI and DUI offenders who have caused death or serious bodily injury to another person.
Outside of jail time and fines, OWI and DUI offenses can have long-term consequences, including higher insurance rates and a potential impact on employment opportunities.
Since This Is My First DUI Offense, Won’t the Judge Be More Likely to Take It Easy on Me?
When new clients visit our firm, they often ask if the judge will take it easy on them since it is their first DUI offense. Our DUI lawyers usually answer this question with, “It depends.” Every individual’s case comes with its own set of details and factors. Therefore, the results of your case could depend on these details and factors: your arrest, your BAC level, your past offenses, your driving record, the judge and prosecutor, and so much more.
While this may be a nerve-racking time in your life, your DUI attorney will work tirelessly to analyze the circumstances of your case, explain the best legal options available to you, and protect your rights throughout the entire legal process. By choosing Wruble Law LLC, you can have peace of mind knowing that your DUI case is in good legal hands.
My Alcohol Tolerance Is High. Doesn’t This Mean That I Can Easily Pass Sobriety Tests?
Many assume they can easily pass sobriety tests if pulled over by a police officer because they have high alcohol tolerance. However, this assumption can cause you DUI charges, which could impact your life for several years. The reason for this is that some people are unaware that alcohol is affecting them in different ways, even though they feel like they can still function while drinking.
Just because you think that you have high alcohol tolerance, can still drive, and pass sobriety tests does not mean that you should take your chances. Police officers look at various factors, such as delayed reactions, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and sudden movements. In addition, it does not matter how high your alcohol tolerance is; your BAC level will still show how much alcohol you have in your system during the traffic stop.
Is It Possible For A Person Accused Of A DUI/OWI To Refuse Chemical Tests?
While you do have the technical right to refuse a chemical test in Indiana, there is an implied consent law when you apply for and receive an Indiana driver’s license. This extends to not just breath tests (like using a breathalyzer) but blood and urine tests.
What’s unfortunate about this implied consent is that refusal of a test can lead to a fine and automatic suspension of your driver’s license. Depending on if there is a former conviction of a DUI/OWI, an individual’s license could be suspended for up to two years.
However, this suspension can be contested – which many unethical law enforcement officers don’t want you to know about. The legal team at Wruble Law LLC can assist you with the contesting suspension process. To get more information on navigating this situation, call (602) 548-3400 for a complimentary case evaluation or book your case review appointment online today.
How A Good Legal Team Can Help You In Your Indiana DUI/OWI Defense
A skilled criminal defense lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in DUI and OWI cases, employing their legal expertise to explore potential defense strategies and pursue favorable outcomes. When looking at a DUI case, it’s important to understand how the facts play an important role in whether you’re convicted.
Some lines of questioning that the legal team at Wruble Law LLC explores to evaluate a DUI case include:
- Did the arresting officer have a valid, legal reason to pull you over?
- Was the officer motivated to pull you over due to conscious or unconscious biases along racial, gender, or economic lines?
- Were you properly read your rights before questioning?
- Was there any evidence videotaped by the arresting officer, such as suspicious driving or field sobriety tests?
- Were any tests you were given done properly? To maintain the evidentiary value of the test they collected, any chemical test must be administered within three hours of your driving or operating a vehicle or device.
- Was the chain of custody of evidence handled properly?
- Were there additional violations of your rights?
A skilled criminal defense attorney, like Stan Wruble, can use any of the above situations to undermine the prosecution’s case against you.
Discover Your Rights By Choosing Experienced Indianapolis DUI Attorney
No matter how serious the circumstances of your case may be (even if you are facing an underage DUI charge or a felony DUI charge), the legal team at Wruble Law LLC understands that law enforcement is not immune to making mistakes. We have 25 years of collective experience in handling criminal cases, having helped numerous clients reduce their charges, have their charges dropped, and obtain not-guilty verdicts during jury trials. We aim to do the same for you, too.
Don’t let an OWI ruin your life. If you have been charged with an OWI or DUI in Indianapolis, Indiana, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today at Wruble Law LLC. Free initial evaluations are available by calling (317)-308-8584 or booking an appointment.