Indiana DUI Attorney
The Indiana DUI attorneys at McNeely Stephenson understand that being charged with DUI is a serious matter, and we can provide you with the strongest defense possible. Everyone makes mistakes, but that doesn’t mean your life has to be turned upside down. Our attorneys have helped many people charged with driving under the influence put their lives back in order.
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.
We’re here to help. An Indiana DUI attorney can step in and guide you through the legal process, advise you about your options, and build a strong defense on your behalf. You don’t have to go it alone. With skill and experience, our attorneys can help minimize the impact of a DUI on your life. Call us at (812) 725-8224 if you have questions. We offer a free initial consultation about your case.
It Begins with a Traffic Stop
A drunk driving charge in Indiana — also known as operating while intoxicated (OWI) — can happen surprisingly easily. You can be pulled over for something as minor as not using turn signals to change lanes, not coming to a full stop at a stop sign, or having a broken tail light. If, after pulling you over, a police officer suspects you’ve had an alcoholic beverage or two, the situation can escalate into an arrest for suspicion of being impaired.
Police officers are required to follow a set of rules after a traffic stop, and the average person may not know whether required procedures were followed. That’s where a knowledgeable Indiana DUI attorney can help. He or she can identify when law enforcement didn’t quite stick to protocol. By reviewing the facts of the case — from the moment the officer noticed you on the road to the time you were booked at the police station – a DUI attorney can look for instances of illegal procedure or other mistakes. Sometimes these are ways that cases can be dismissed. A skilled DUI attorney can also challenge the results of a breathalyzer test or question whether evidence was handled properly. There are many ways that your lawyer can object to procedures, challenge the facts in a case or have evidence thrown out.
To find out more about how we can help you, contact an Indiana DUI lawyer today by calling (812) 725-8224 or by filling out our online form.
Questions to Ask a DUI Lawyer
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 in Indiana. For commercial vehicle drivers like semi-trailer trucks or construction vehicles, the BAC limit is 0.04 percent. 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.” Whether or not you decide to take a breathalyzer test, the best thing to do is be polite and respectful, give the officer the documents he requests, such as your driver’s license and registration, and answer his questions. Beyond that, say as little as possible. Do not talk at length or say anything that could incriminate you. If arrested, go peacefully and do not physically resist the officer. Do not be confrontational, belligerent or do anything that could cause the situation to escalate. Exercise your right to make a phone call and hire a DUI lawyer as quickly as possible.
The Process After Hiring a DUI Attorney
There are a lot of attorneys out there, but all attorneys are not created equal. Some are simply better than others. Our firm prides itself on having some of the best and the brightest lawyers who bring authority and credibility to the table. Choosing McNeely Stephenson to represent you is a positive first step.
After hiring our Indiana DUI lawyer, we will 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 sobriety test to make sure it was administered in accordance with the law and the results of the test are reliable. We will answer any questions you have about the legal process and keep you informed of new developments, evidence and court dates.
Our team will look for ways to reduce 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 thorough legal research and assertive representation. We’ll look at your case from all angles to make sure your rights are protected, and the outcome is as favorable as possible.
What to do After Being Pulled Over for DUI
Whether you choose to take a sobriety test is up to you, but there are consequences for refusing a test. If you are given the option of taking a chemical test at the station rather than a roadside test, it can be wise to do so because chemical tests are often more accurate and less subjective. Be aware that roadside sobriety tests are flawed, but refusing a test can also lead to harsh penalties. Both field sobriety tests at the site of the traffic stop and chemical sobriety tests at the police station have their pros and cons. In other words, there are few good options available once an officer suspects you are driving while impaired. Use your best judgment, say as little as possible, and seek legal representation quickly.
Our justice system provides incentives to police officers and prosecutors for securing convictions. Most prosecutors want to appear tough on crime, and racking up convictions is one way to do this. You don’t want to be a casualty of this incentive system inadvertently. Get the expertise you need on your side as quickly as possible. Once you are taken into custody, tell the authorities immediately that you want to speak to your attorney.
A good DUI lawyer goes to work on your case the moment they receive your call. We will listen to your side of the story, review police reports and other documents, examine the evidence, and begin to build a strong defense. Our focus is to secure the best possible outcome for your case. If you or your loved one has been arrested for a DUI in Indiana, we encourage you to contact McNeely Stephenson at (812) 725-8224 as soon as possible.
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.
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. 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.
Penalties become much stricter for every subsequent time you are arrested and convicted of DUI. In the last several years, judges and juries have become increasingly intolerant of repeat offenders where drunk driving is concerned, and they show little mercy for someone who repeatedly gets behind the wheel of a car and drives on the road when intoxicated, thereby putting other motorists, passengers and pedestrians at risk. If you find yourself in this situation, it can be better to get professional help for your drinking than to face increased prison time. Your life can irreversibly change in an instant if you hit another vehicle while driving drunk, causing injury or death to others.
The Consequences of a DUI Charge
Penalties for a DUI charge vary greatly, depending on several factors. Not only do prior convictions lead to harsher punishments, but “aggravating circumstances” do, too, such as a high BAC (0.15 percent), the lack of a driver’s license, and possession of weapons or drugs. These factors can 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 finding housing, education, getting loans and mortgages, and securing 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 legal penalty.
If convicted of a DUI charge, there is often no happy ending. Families are under stress, opportunities become limited, and shame can grow. That’s why it’s so important to appreciate and take advantage of the chance to start fresh if you happen to be acquitted or are found guilty of a lesser charge and receive a light sentence. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.
The Chance to Get Help
One of the things a court looks favorably on is your willingness to proactively seek alcohol counseling or treatment when you have been charged with DUI/OWI. Whether attending 12-step meetings, checking yourself into a treatment facility, or pursuing professional counseling, all of these can show a court that you feel remorse and take responsibility for your actions, which can both help you personally and potentially prompt leniency by the court. Your effort needs to be as sincere as possible, though, because courts and prosecutors are wise and don’t want to have their time wasted with superficial or insincere gestures. It’s up to you. An experienced DUI attorney or healthcare professional can help you find one of these alcohol awareness or treatment options if you would like them to do so.
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. This means the misdemeanor will be eliminated from your court record and will not show up on criminal background checks for loans, jobs and other matters.
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. We can guide you through the process and answer all your questions.
An Indiana DUI Attorney Can Help. Call Us Today.
A DUI charge and arrest doesn’t have to create havoc for your whole family and put your future in jeopardy. While an arrest is unpleasant, there are steps that can be taken to minimize the damage to your career and community involvement. By hiring an Indiana DUI lawyer, you will take the first step in putting your life back together. An attorney at McNeely Stephenson can advise you on your legal options, put together a strong defense based on the facts, and help achieve the best outcome possible for you. We have decades of experience helping clients facing DUI charges and are skilled at reviewing legal statutes, gathering evidence, and challenging a prosecutor’s version of events. We may be able to help you, too. You don’t have to go it alone. To begin your defense and take a step toward a fresh start, call us today at (812) 725-8224. We are here for you.