Navigating License Suspensions in an Indiana OWI Case
License Suspensions Due To DUI/OWI
Getting arrested on suspicion of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) triggers the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) to suspend your driver’s license immediately. You may also know the offense of OWI as Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Regardless of the official or common term used for drunk or drugged driving, you should discuss your situation with a DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Advice from the best DUI attorney available will inform you about the likelihood of conviction or case dismissal and how long you can expect your license to be suspended.
Administrative License Suspension
The act of getting a driver’s license in Indiana implies that you will submit to a chemical test if suspected of OWI. This is known as implied consent, and you will be penalized for refusing to undergo a blood, breath, or urine analysis. The BMV suspends a driver’s license for one year when a person will not comply with a chemical test request.
For those who take a chemical test but fail, the BMV automatically suspends their licenses for 180 days. Depending on what happens later in court, you might not have to lose your license for that long, especially if it was the first offense. A DUI attorney can help you understand how your case is likely to unfold. You may want to seek Specialized Driving Privileges (SDP) or wait to see the outcome of your case.
Court-Ordered License Suspension
Because OWI is a criminal offense, a court will determine whether you are ultimately convicted, or your case is dismissed. If you are convicted at trial or because you and your DUI lawyer decide a guilty plea is appropriate, the court will order the suspension of your license as provided in your plea agreement for intoxicated driving.
Indiana law allows judges to suspend a convicted person’s license concerning the severity of the offense. A first offense OWI with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.08% and 0.15% might result in a suspended license from 0 days to 1 year, but a majority of cases typically range from 60 to 90 days, which is shorter than the 180-day administrative suspension. Additionally, at the time of sentencing, you will get credit for the days of administrative suspension that have already passed. In that scenario, your license suspension could end up being shorter than expected.
However, OWI conviction for a BAC of 0.15% or higher, or a second or third offense, lengthens the court-ordered suspension. You can expect to lose driving privileges for at least one year. Once again, the administrative suspension is credited toward the total time of the court-ordered suspension.
Due to the worsening penalties for subsequent OWI convictions, the need for a solid and effective DUI defense is more important than ever. The best DUI lawyer may be able to detect problems with the traffic stop or chemical test that could save you from full prosecution.
Specialized Driving Privileges for Hardship
A suspended license poses a significant disruption to most people’s lives. Should it occur during the pretrial period or after a conviction, you may be eligible for SDP, commonly known as a hardship license.
SDP grants you a limited license for the purpose of:
- Driving to work or school
- Driving to medical appointments
- Driving to court ordered parenting time
Your SDP will outline the acceptable reasons for being on the road and when you can do it.
SDPs are authorized for a minimum of 180 days.
A hardship license often requires people to install an ignition interlock device. Installation and monitoring are out-of-pocket costs for you, and you will have to determine if they are worth it.
Despite the tradeoffs, SDP could be a viable way for you to avoid a total loss of your license for months or years. Should you seek these privileges, a DUI attorney could help you prepare an application with the fullest driving privileges possible, given your circumstances.
Learn what you can do if you are involved in a drug case here.
License Suspension for Drugged Driving
Consumption of alcohol is not the only reason for license suspension, and OWI also applies to driving while using Schedule I or II drugs. A chemical test that detects the metabolic traces of controlled substances makes an OWI charge possible even if your BAC is not at an illegal level. Any arrest on suspicion of OWI prompts the BMV to suspend your license.
The problem here is that drug metabolites can remain in your system for days or weeks after consumption. In this situation, you would want to consult a DUI lawyer, and such a lawyer knows how to defend cases reliant on chemical tests.
Possible OWI Defenses
A successful DUI defense shortens the time you must endure a license suspension. This is why it is essential to talk to a DUI lawyer instead of assuming you have to plead guilty. A lawyer could scrutinize the traffic stop, chemical testing equipment, etc. A case dismissal allows the BMV to reinstate your driving privileges.
DUI Attorney at Webster & Garino, LLC
As you can see, a DUI attorney can provide great value as you navigate a license suspension and prepare to defend yourself after a drunk driving arrest. Schedule a complimentary first consultation at our office today by calling 317-565-1818 or emailing us.