Indiana DUI Attorney
Getting pulled over is stressful. Talking to the police, when you don’t know much about the law or your rights, is often uncomfortable. But if the officer determines you are driving under the influence (DUI) in Indiana, suddenly you are arrested and are more vulnerable than ever. You’re probably embarrassed, dreading having to tell your family and friends, wondering whether you’ll be facing jail time – and knowing that a criminal conviction means a permanent mark on your record.
The Floyd County DUI defense lawyers at McNeely Stephenson understand that being charged with DUI is a serious matter, and we’re ready to provide you with the strongest defense possible. We know that everyone makes mistakes, and we have helped many people charged with driving under the influence get their lives back in order. It all starts with an evaluation of the circumstances surrounding the traffic stop.
It Begins with a Traffic Stop
Police officers are required to follow a set of rules that the average person may not recognize as having been disregarded. That’s why it’s essential to have a knowledgeable Indiana DUI attorney who can identify when law enforcement didn’t quite stick to protocol, from the moment the officer noticed you on the road to the time you were booked. To find out more about how we can help you, contact us today by calling 812-725-8224 or by filling out our online form.
Also known as operating while intoxicated (OWI), a drunk driving charge can happen surprisingly easily. You can be pulled over for something as minor as not using turn signals to change lanes or for having a broken tail light. If you have had an alcoholic beverage or two, the situation can evolve into an arrest for suspicion of being impaired. Our lawyers are prepared to help those in Indiana and across the river in Kentucky.
Once you get over the initial shock of being arrested for DUI, your mind might start swimming with questions.
- How accurate are breathalyzers?
- What about blood tests?
- Will I go to jail?
- Is there video evidence or an eyewitness?
- How much is this all going to cost?
- What’s going to happen when I go to court?
- What will I do if my license is suspended?
The uncertainty is often overwhelming, which is why talking with an attorney as soon as possible after you have been charged is so important. If you have been arrested, you need to act quickly. Contact the Floyd County DUI attorneys at McNeely Stephenson to put an experienced attorney to work on your behalf.
What Happens After You’re Stopped by a Police Officer?
In Indiana alone, almost 13,500 arrests for driving under the influence were made in 2016. Once a traffic stop is made, the most well-known method for determining whether the driver is intoxicated is the Breathalyzer test. This device measures blood alcohol content (BAC).
Anything above 0.08 percent is considered legal intoxication. For commercial vehicle drivers, the BAC limit is 0.04 percent, and for drivers under the age of 21, the limit is lower still – 0.02 percent.
Under Indiana’s implied consent law, if you refuse to submit to a chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine when requested by a police officer who has probable cause to believe you were driving under the influence of alcohol, you can be fined, and your license can be suspended for a year. The refusal can also be used at trial as evidence that you knew you were intoxicated.
Penalties for Drunk Driving in Indiana
The first time you are arrested and convicted for OWI in Indiana, you will receive a fine of up to $5,000, your license will be suspended for a period of 90 days to two years, and you will face up to one year in jail.
The penalties vary, based on whether the offense is charged as a Class A misdemeanor or a Class C misdemeanor, and they are much stricter for every subsequent time you are arrested and convicted of DUI. For your first offense, absent any aggravating circumstances, it may be possible to secure a lower fine and probation rather than imprisonment. Options include community service and alcohol education classes, as well as a probationary driver’s license rather than a total suspension.
The Consequences of a DUI Charge
The penalties for a DUI charge vary greatly, depending on several factors. Prior convictions will lead to harsher punishments. “Aggravating circumstances” include a high BAC (0.15 percent), the lack of a driver’s license and possession of weapons or drugs. These factors could potentially turn a misdemeanor charge into a felony.
The consequences of a DUI charge go beyond legal penalties. A criminal record of any kind can limit opportunities like housing, education, financial opportunities and employment. Someone charged with a DUI might be looked down upon by their loved ones, coworkers and communities. These repercussions have a lingering effect on a person’s life that can outlast any license suspension, fine or penalty.
What to do After Being Charged with a DUI
If you are pulled over by the police…
- Be respectful.
- Provide the officer with the documentation he or she requests.
- Don’t say anything you don’t need to say.
- Don’t say anything that incriminates you.
- If arrested, go peacefully and do not physically resist the officer.
- Request an attorney and say nothing else.
Whether you choose to take a sobriety test is up to you. There are consequences for refusing a test, though if you are given the option of taking a chemical test at the station, it might be preferable to a roadside test, which can be much more subjective. Be aware that roadside sobriety tests are flawed, but that refusing a test will can also lead to harsh penalties. In other words, there are few good options available once an officer suspects you are driving while impaired.
The most important thing to remember is that you have the right to an Indiana DUI attorney and the right to remain silent. Take advantage of both of those rights as soon as you are placed under arrest. If you speak at length to the authorities, you could be doing more harm than you realize.
Our justice system provides incentives to police officers and prosecutors to get convictions. They will use everything you say against you. Once you are taken into custody, tell the authorities you want to speak to your attorney.
A good defense attorney goes to work on your case the moment they receive your call. If you or your loved one has been arrested for a DUI in Indiana, we encourage you to contact McNeely Stephenson as soon as possible.
How an Indiana DUI Attorney Can Help
Our Indiana DUI lawyers investigate every aspect of your case, beginning with the traffic stop and arrest. We make sure that there were no mistakes or abuses of power by the arresting officer. We will also examine the test to make sure it was administered in accordance with the law and that the results of the test are reliable.
Our team will then look for ways to lessen the charges against you or, if possible, have them dismissed entirely. The Indiana DUI attorneys at McNeely Stephenson believe that the best defense is achieved by assertive and thorough legal representation. We’ll look at your case from all angles to make sure your rights are protected and that the outcome is as favorable as possible.
Expunging a DUI Charge in Indiana
Expungement is the process of having a conviction removed from your record. If your DUI charge was a misdemeanor and at least five years old, it is possible that it can be expunged via a formal request to the courts. If you’re interested in seeking an expungement, it’s worth consulting a DUI attorney in Indiana to see whether you are eligible. An attorney can help you prepare your expungement request and ensure all your documents are in order.
Let the Indiana DUI Attorneys at McNeely Stephenson Help
The Indiana OWI defense lawyers at McNeely Stephenson have the skills and experience needed to ensure that clients are provided with the effective representation that they deserve. From steep fines to long prison terms, the potential penalties if convicted of a DUI charge are significant. The conviction will also go on your criminal record and can cause issues down the road with employers, landlords, financial institutions, and schools that perform a criminal record check as part of their application process.
It’s important to remember that an accusation is not the same as a conviction, and there are many ways our Indiana DUI attorneys can help. We know how the Indiana criminal justice system operates and how to use the unique circumstances of each case to develop a thorough defense strategy that takes advantage of every opportunity for case dismissal, reduction of charges, reduction of sentences, and alternatives to imprisonment.
If you have been accused of or arrested in Indiana for driving while impaired, let us plan the aggressive defense that you will need. To get more information and explore your options, contact the Floyd County DUI attorneys at McNeely Stephenson today.
No matter what crime you’ve been charged with, you need an advocate that will stand up for your rights. Contact us today to get started.