Indiana’s criminal code strictly prohibits drivers from operating a vehicle while inebriated, so those who are arrested for doing so face severe penalties. Fortunately, there are programs available to first time and underage offenders that can help them avoid the more serious penalties associated with a DUI conviction, so if you were recently arrested for driving under the influence, it is crucial to contact a Northwest Indiana DUI attorney who can defend your interests and explain your legal options.
In Indiana, a person can be convicted of driving under the influence if he or she is arrested while driving:
With a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher, unless the driver is under the age of 21 years old, in which case the threshold is lowered to .02 percent;
After ingesting a Schedule I or II controlled substance; or while intoxicated.
For the first two categories, prosecutors are required to provide evidence of a breathalyzer or chemical test to prove that a driver was under the influence. The third category, however, does not require test results. Instead, a person can be convicted of driving under the influence if there is evidence that he or she was under the influence of either alcohol, a drug, or a combination of the two and:
To prove this, prosecutors often introduce the testimony of the arresting officer or other eyewitnesses.
Most DUIs are classified as misdemeanor offenses in Indiana, so the most severe penalty that a defendant can expect is 60 days in jail, a $500 fine, and a one year license suspension, unless the driver’s BAC was .15 percent or higher, in which case the Class C misdemeanor will be increased to a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in prison. Fortunately, first time offenders can avoid these penalties if they attend a substance abuse education course and perform a certain amount of community service.
Not all DUIs are charged as misdemeanors. Second offenses, for example, are automatically charged as Level 6 felonies, which come with a three year prison sentence, a $10,000 fine, and a two year license suspension. Misdemeanor DUI offenses will also be upgraded to a felony if:
Fortunately for defendants, there are a number of arguments that they can raise on their behalf and so avoid conviction, including that: the controlled substance they consumed was prescribed, they were unlawfully detained, the arrest preceding the chemical test was unlawful, a mistake was made during testing, or the testing equipment was not properly calibrated. To find out whether any of these defenses apply in your own case, please contact our law firm today.
Please contact Tanzillo Stassin & Babcock P.C. at (219) 865-6262 to discuss your case with one of our experienced DUI attorneys for free.
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