Operating while intoxicated, or drunk driving offenses, affect every section of society, regardless of someone being male or female, upper class or lower class, rich or poor, educated or uneducated. It affects everyone, so concerns will always be unique with respect to the person.
Someone who has to drive a car to work learns how important operating their car is, because their license will be suspended administratively after being arrested for operating while intoxicated. This is a big concern for people who have to travel by car to work or need to drive to take their children to school or after school activities.
A lot of people do not know this because Indiana is a border state with Canada, but someone with an operating while intoxicated conviction would not be permitted into Canada. So if someone who has to travel to Canada to work or travels to Canada for their yearly fishing or hunting trip, will not be able to go there anymore.
If the person slipped past the border and was caught in Canada with a criminal offense, then they would be committing a crime in Canada just by being there because they were inadmissible. One of the first questions I always ask when representing someone for operating while intoxicated is if they travel to Canada, if they travel to work or if they are a sportsman, just to see how that might affect them.
Does The Person Have To Attend Some Sort Of Hearing with the DMV?
No, not in Indiana, but in other states they have administrative hearings with their Secretary of State, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, or Department of Motor Vehicles, whatever the state may call it. There are no separate hearings with respect to the license suspension because it is all done in the criminal court under the same criminal cause number.
Will Someone Have To Attend An Arraignment?
Yes, they go to an initial hearing where the court or the prosecutor advises the person about the offense(s) with which they are being charged, the potential penalties and the potential punishment. The court also advises the person that their license will be administratively suspended for 6 months.
The court will also advise the person about their legal rights as a defendant in a criminal case, and advise the person to get an attorney. Sometimes, if someone hired an attorney right away, then they would enter their appearance and waive the initial hearing so the person would not be required to show up in court and their attorney will advise them of their rights and options.
Are There Diversion Or Alternative Programs Available To People Instead Of Jail?
Yes. In Indiana, there is a statute that permits diversions or deferral, although prosecutors typically do not offer this type of an arrangement. Some counties have problem solving courts but those are typically only for someone being charged with a felony, not a misdemeanor, so that is one way to avoid a conviction.
What Happens After Someone Gets Arrested?
The person would typically be allowed to post bond after being arrested, but there might be a holding period because they were intoxicated, so the jail might hold them for up to 8 hours before they are permitted to post bond. The jail personnel will take the driver's license and give the person a receipt for their license.
How Public Would It Be? Would Their Job, Friends, Or Family Find Out?
Every place is different, although typically, in LaPorte County, it gets mentioned in the arrest section of the paper anytime anyone gets arrested. Some papers even list convictions of people in the local papers, and now with the advantage of the internet and computers, anyone can go to online dockets, which means they can type in a person's name and see if it pops up.
Do People Say Things Mistakenly To Police Officers That Makes Their Case Worse?
Sure. If police officer asked them to do some tests, and the person confessed that they were too drunk to do that test, that could be considered evidence. People say things all the time that do not help their defense. Even sober people can make mistakes and say things to hurt their defense.
What Are People Obligated To Say Or Not To Say To Police Officers?
If an officer initiates a traffic stop, the person would not be required to speak to a police officer but they would be required to pull their vehicle over and provide the officer with the operator's license, insurance information or vehicle registration.
If the officer requests that they step out from their vehicle, then they are required to comply with the request, but they are not required to perform any field sobriety test such as Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk and Turn, One Leg Stand, Finger to Nose Count, ABCs, counting backwards or even taking the roadside breath test, or PBTs or portable or preliminary breath tests. The person would not be required to do any of that.
This applies to Indiana, but in some states refusing to do the field sobriety tests can be used against the person to argue consciousness of guilt.
What Are Some Common Mistakes Which Make It Harder To Work With A Case?
Firstly, people need to recognize that a lot of people say that someone told them not to take the breath test and to always refuse. I have to be very clear about that, because as an officer of the court, an attorney should never tell someone not to take the breath test or a blood test because under the law, they are required to.
As an attorney, we cannot tell anyone to violate the law, which is why I tell everyone that if a police officer requests that they take a breath, blood, or chemical test in any form, they need to comply with the request. A lot of people do not understand that they are not required to participate with the field sobriety tests, meaning they are not required to do any of the roadside tests, so if the police want the person to submit to a portable breath test, they are not be required to do that test.
For more information on Common Mistakes in OWI Cases, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you're seeking by calling (219) 874-4878 today.