At Ball Eggleston PC, we understand that anyone can find themselves in a troublesome situation. This includes being given a Driving Under the Influence charge or an Operating While Intoxicated charge. The criminal defense attorneys at Ball Eggleston PC are here to assist and offer guidance, but first, we believe that it is important that we offer some general information about these charges and answer some common questions.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a crime in which a person drives, defined as operating a vehicle, while intoxicated, or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs that impair the driver’s ability to control the vehicle properly. If pulled over by the police while driving in Indiana, a person can expect to receive an Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) charge, which is the official and legal term in the state of Indiana for a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge.
If you receive an Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) charge, it is important to behave cautiously. Maintenance of good moral character during this time can be beneficial throughout the process of dealing with an OWI charge, as acting in a negative manner will make your character appear questionable. In addition, in the case of an OWI charge, it is also crucial to seek legal assistance from an attorney. Defending an OWI charge involves numerous technical issues. Even though using the assistance of an attorney is not required by the law, an attorney can be an important resource for you as you handle the process of an OWI charge.
If it is suspected or believed that a driver is Operating While Intoxicated, then the police will test the driver’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and usually have the driver perform Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs). Blood Alcohol Content is measured by the weight of
BAC can be examined through a blood test or, most commonly, a breath test — the method used is left to the discretion of the police officer. Any Blood Alcohol Content percentage that is 0.08% or higher will result in an Operating While Intoxicated charge. If a person’s Blood Alcohol Content is over 0.15%, they will face a more severe punishment than they would if it was between 0.08% and 0.15%. These violations are both considered to be “per se” violations, meaning that the person’s Blood Alcohol Content has exceeded the legal limitations. A “per se” violation is a breach of a law or a statute, and the only requirement is that a person has to be found breaking the terms of this law or statute to be charged with the crime. Intent does not need to be proven.
Although a person can refuse to take a Blood Alcohol Test, they do so at their own detriment. When a police officer believes he or she has probable cause that a person has committed and OWI
For the first
The next time a person receives an Operating While Intoxicated charge, they could receive a sentence requiring they be imprisoned for a minimum of five days or for them to perform 180 hours of community service. Also, a Court could order community corrections such as work release or house arrest, a further driver’s license suspension, probation, community service, drug and alcohol classes, attendance at a Victim Impact Panel, community service, and the application of an Ignition Interlock Device in the person’s car, or other conditions.
The third time a person receives an Operating While Intoxicated charge, their sentence could require them to be imprisoned for a minimum of ten days or require them to perform 360 hours of community service, require them to serve additional jail time, community corrections time such as work release or house arrest, a further driver’s license suspension, probation, community service, drug and alcohol classes, attendance at a Victim Impact Panel, community service, and the application of an Ignition Interlock Device in the person’s car, or other conditions.
Misdemeanors are minor crimes that are punishable by substantial fines and, sometimes, jail time. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes than felonies are, and they have consequences of a smaller magnitude. Felonies, however, are major crimes that are punishable by even more substantial fines and by prison sentences that last longer than a year; these major crimes are also categorized into levels based on how extreme and dangerous they are. Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors.
The lowest Operating While Intoxicated, charge is a Class C Misdemeanor. However, OWI charges include A Misdemeanors and felonies. How a person’s first Operating While Intoxicated is charged, whether a misdemeanor or a felony, is entirely dependent on the specific situation and the BAC of the person. If a person receives more Operating While Intoxicated charges after their first OWI conviction, the additional charges may qualify as felonies.
An Operating While Intoxicated charge can remain on a person’s record. There is, however, a possibility of an expungement for records including an Operating While Intoxicated charge. An expungement is a legal removal, elimination, or sealing of specific material from a person’s legal record. Expungements can only be granted by judges.
Operating While Intoxicated charges can have expensive, inconvenient, and time-consuming consequences. In addition, they can also remain on a person’s permanent records for a long period of time, in some cases causing — employment, education, and benefits complications. To attempt to avoid this incident from drastically and negatively changing a person’s life, one should seek professional help from legal counsel. This will increase the chances of possible expungement or of lessening the punishments mandated by the court on the person with the Operating While Intoxicated charge, as attorneys are professionals who understand the law thoroughly and are experienced in the courtroom.
Operating While Intoxicated charges are complicated charges, followed by even more perplexing and intricate legal processes. Being pulled over and found guilty of an Operating While Intoxicated charge can lead to a difficult time both financially and emotionally. An attorney can be the helping hand you need during this challenging process and explain the different elements, procedures and options that follow an Operating While Intoxicated charge.
We at Ball Eggleston PC are glad to be of assistance in difficult legal situations, including those including Driving Under the Influence or Operating While Intoxicated charges. If you are in need of a criminal defense attorney for a Driving Under the Influence or Operating While Intoxicated charge, Attorneys JP Schafer and Gabriel Eberhardt of Ball Eggleston’s Criminal Law Practice may be able to help. Please contact attorneys JP Shafer or Gabriel Eberhardt for further information.
Ball Eggleston is located at 201 Main Street, Suite 810 P.O. Box 1535 Lafayette, IN 47902. Contact Ball Eggleston by phone at (765) 742-9046, by fax at (765) 742-1966, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information, find Ball Eggleston online at www.ball-law.com.
You can also find us on Facebook and YouTube.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.