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James Dickinson

It is possible to have your DUI dismissed in Indiana under certain circumstances. In Indiana, misdemeanor-level offenses may be dismissed with a process called conditional deferral under Indiana Code 12-23-5.    

Conditional Deferral in Indiana

Conditional deferral involves holding the charge open for a year while the defendant completes treatment or other requirements appropriate to the situation. Additionally, the prosecutor must agree that this is an appropriate resolution. Many counties in Indiana have policies against conditional deferral on DUI offenses, so it is not a guarantee it will be available in all cases.  

Indiana DUI laws

Indiana's DUI statute is found under Indiana Code 9-30-5-1. Under this code, the level of alcohol in your system will play a role in how you are charged:  

In order to be convicted of a DUI in Indiana, the State must prove three main elements:  

  • That you operated  
  • What you operated was a motor vehicle  
  • You were intoxicated at the time  

Indiana is also an "implied consent" state. This means that a driver is required to submit to chemical testing or field sobriety tests. If you do not consent, you can be charged with an additional penalty called a refusal. Refusals can increase the length of time your driver's license is suspended.    

Misdemeanor DUI in Indiana

  • If you have between a .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) and a .15 BAC, you can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor.  
  • If you have .15 BAC or higher, you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor  
  • If you have a schedule one or two controlled substances in your system, you can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor.    
  • Commercial drivers cannot have a BAC at or higher than .04 percent.    

Felony DUI in Indiana

  • DUIs in Indiana are charged as misdemeanors unless there is an aggravating factor that can increase the penalty to a Felony: The aggravating factors that increase the penalties to a Felony are:  
  • DUIs Involving Deaths can be charged as a level four Felony in Indiana.  
  • DUIs involving injuries can be charged as a level five felony and the penalties may increase based on the number of people injured.    
  • DUIs involving minor passengers may be charged as a level 6 felony. This includes all passengers under the age of 18 at the time the DUI was committed.    
  • If you are charged with a DUI within seven years of a previous DUI, you can be charged with a class 6 felony.  

DUI Penalties in Indiana

First offense DUI  

  • Up to one year in jail  
  • Probation for up to two years  
  • A fine between $500 and $5,000  
  • A license suspension for up to two years  

Second offense DUI

  • Up to three years in jail  
  • Probation for up to two and a half years  
  • A maximum fine of $10,000  
  • A license suspension between 180 days and two years.  
  • Mandatory substance abuse education  

Third offense DUI  

  • Up to three years in jail  
  • Probation for up to two and a half years  
  • A maximum fine of $10,000  
  • A license suspension of up to ten years  
  • Mandatory substance abuse education  

Penalties for DUIs continue to increase based on your number of priors and any aggravating factors involved in the incident.    

DUI Arrest In Indiana

If you are arrested for a DUI in Indiana, it is vital to contact an experienced DUI attorney immediately. DUIs can be very complex and require a strong knowledge of this area of law to mount a strong defense.    

Do You Need To Hire A DUI Attorney In Indiana?

Yes! A DUI attorney will be able to review the evidence and make sure your rights are protected. For more information on ways to reduce a DUI in Indiana read our article, Here's How to Reduce Your DUI Charges in Indiana. Areas a DUI attorney can challenge:  

The Initial Traffic Stops by the Police  

A police officer needs probable cause to make a traffic stop, and this is an area that can be challenged. If it can be shown that there was no probable cause for the stop, it is possible to suppress evidence that resulted from that stop.    

DUI Checkpoint

Indiana DUI Checkpoints

Indiana does allow for DUI checkpoints. A DUI checkpoint is a temporary diversion of traffic by law enforcement. Some vehicles going through the checkpoint will be stopped and inspected. Law enforcement can ask you for your name, date of birth, current address, registration, and driver's license. You can refuse to answer questions outside of this scope. If an officer observes signs of intoxication, you may be subjected to sobriety tests.    

Roadside field sobriety tests. Multiple field sobriety tests can be employed by a police officer, but the three main ones are the one-leg stand, Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, and the Walk and Turn test. These tests must be administered in specific ways under specific conditions to get results that can be used against you. If they are not done correctly, an experienced attorney can prevent the results from being used against you.    

The Actual Arrest

The police also need to have probable cause to arrest you. If you are arrested, you have certain rights, such as your Miranda rights. Once you are arrested, you cannot be questioned without your Miranda rights being read, and any statements given may be suppressed if the proper procedure is not followed.    

Scientific Challenges

DUI offenses often include a fair amount of scientific evidence. The testing of breath and blood samples includes advanced scientific equipment that needs to be correctly calibrated and maintained. Additionally, the testing procedures must be conducted in specific scientific conditions for them to be valid. They need to be completed by trained scientists in an approved lab. There can also be a chain of custody issues with the samples that an experienced attorney may be able to challenge.    

Administrative Hearing

If you are arrested for a DUI, your driver's license will be revoked or suspended pending the resolution of your case. You will be provided with information on challenging the revocation or suspension at an administrative hearing. You will have ten days from the date on the notice paperwork to request an administrative hearing. If you win an administrative hearing, your license will not be revoked or suspended while your case is pending before the court. The issues at an administrative hearing are:  

  • Whether or the arresting officer followed proper police procedures during your traffic stop.  
  • Whether there was probable cause to suspend or revoke your license.  
  • Whether the driver refused a chemical test  
  • Whether the driver's blood alcohol was .08 percent or higher.    

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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