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How A DUI Conviction in Indiana Can Impact Your Life

How A DUI Conviction in Indiana Can Impact Your Life

Jared-Michel-Thomas

You know that every U.S. state treats drunk driving very seriously, so it should be no surprise to learn that Indiana law imposes tough penalties. The motor vehicle code uses the term “Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated” (OWI), but a lot of what you already know about drunk driving laws applies.

You could be arrested if officers observe that you are intoxicated OR if your blood alcohol concentration is above .08 percent as measured by a chemical test. Even a first-time OWI can lead to serious penalties if you are convicted, including jail time and a fine up to $5,000. Plus, officers will confiscate your driver’s license. The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) could suspend your driving privileges for up to two years.

However harsh these penalties may seem, there are implications that you may not consider after being arrested for drunk driving in Indiana. Even though you served your sentence as required by the court, there are numerous collateral consequences. They could affect your employment, financial outlook, personal freedoms, and many other interests – long after you paid your debt to society.

Of course, criminal punishment, administrative sanctions and collateral consequences do not apply unless you are convicted. Always remember that an OWI arrest does not equal guilt, and the prosecution has a high burden of proof. There are numerous strategies for obtaining a favorable outcome, so you should trust an Evansville DUI lawyer for legal help. You may also find it useful to review some information on how a DUI conviction in Indiana can impact your life.

Collateral Consequences of an Indiana Drunk Driving Conviction

Depending on the underlying circumstances, a conviction for OWI means a misdemeanor or felony conviction becomes part of your permanent criminal history. The matter will appear whenever circumstances require a background check, but there are also certain situations where you must disclose criminal activity. As a result, there are numerous collateral consequences you might encounter:

  • Employment: Many Indiana employers will conduct a background check as a condition of hiring, so it may be difficult to obtain employment. As a practical matter, you may lose your job if it requires you to drive.
  • Professional or Business License: There are conditions attached to many of the licenses and credentials issued by the State of Indiana, especially those involving health care, real estate, law, financial industry, and related professions. You might be required to notify officials about a DUI conviction, at which point your professional or business license could be revoked.
  • Loans: Financial institutions carefully review applicant information for financing, including anyone borrowing for a mortgage, auto loans, lines of credit, business loans, and lending arrangements. A conviction for drunk driving might mean a rejection.
  • Future Offenses: When you already have a conviction on your record, you are a repeat offender for purposes of any subsequent DUI or future criminal activity. Your prior criminal history is a factor when the judge sentences you in a later case. In addition, the administrative penalties that affect your driving privileges are more severe, so your license could be suspended for a longer period of time.

Collateral Consequences That Hit Your Wallet 

The above factors mainly involve legal factors that stem from an Indiana OWI conviction, but you can expect collateral consequences for your wallet as well. One of the most impactful and immediate effects will be the expenses related to not having a driver’s license. Even if you remain employed, you will need to rely on other methods of transportation to get around for personal and professional reasons. Taxis and ridesharing costs add up and, though public transportation may be available, you pay the costs of inconvenience.

Other financial implications of a drunk driving conviction include:

  • Costs for an ignition interlock device (IID), installation, and monthly services
  • Expenses related to any alcohol or substance abuse assessment, treatment, and courses
  • Higher insurance premiums once you get your license back
  • Costs for safe driver programs; and
  • Fees for reinstating your driver’s license.

How an Evansville DUI Attorney Can Help Minimize Collateral Consequences

Considering the implications, you would certainly want to do all you can to avoid a conviction for drunk driving. Retaining a defense lawyer should be the first step toward achieving this goal or resolving OWI charges to your advantage. Any of the following strategies or other approaches might be appropriate:

  • Your attorney may work to expose weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, such as contesting the BAC test or roadside stop. This tactic may prevent the prosecutor from proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • There may be defenses, particularly with reasonable suspicion of DUI and probable cause to arrest you for drunk driving. You might get the charges dismissed if the prosecution cannot present improperly obtained evidence.
  • Even if you cannot get an acquittal, the prospect of a weak case may convince the prosecutor to offer a deal. One common plea bargain in a drunk driving case is to lower the charges to wet reckless. An Evansville DUI attorney can guide plea negotiations to ensure a fair arrangement.

If your case has already concluded, you may still have options for minimizing the impact of an OWI. Indiana law provides for expungement and records sealing as post-conviction relief, though there are strict rules to qualify. By expunging or sealing your criminal record, the DUI would not appear in your criminal history for most purposes. Government officials would still have access.

An Evansville DUI Lawyer Will Protect Your Future

Now that you know how a DUI conviction in Indiana can impact your life, you can see the importance of retaining experienced legal counsel immediately after an arrest. Our team at Thomas Law can be most effective when we get involved in your case as early on in the criminal process as possible.

To learn how we can help fight the charges, present defenses, and assist with plea agreements, please call us at 812-492-1900. We can schedule a no-cost consultation with an Evansville DUI attorney who will review your circumstances and get started on a defense strategy.

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