At Hessler Law, we get a lot of questions about DUI/OWI charges. Since alcohol is such an integral part of American culture, most of us run the risk of operating a vehicle after drinking at some point in our lives. The best way to avoid the stress of dealing with the police is to never drive after drinking any amount of alcohol, not even as a passenger. The next best solution is to know what to expect from a police encounter and to know your rights. Also
Here are five of the most common questions we get at the office about DUI/OWI law in Indiana:
- Can I Avoid an OWI Checkpoint?The short answer is yes, but it’s risky. You can avoid a OWI checkpoint by making any legal maneuver away from it, but the police are careful to set up roadblocks in places where this might be difficult to accomplish. If you make an illegal U-turn to avoid the roadblock, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll get pulled over.Even if you manage to make a legal turn away from the checkpoint, in many cases the police will have a “chase car” ready to follow you. This chase car could eventually find a reason to pull you over after following you for a few miles—even the slightest deviation from the rules of the road may give them reasonable suspicion to pull you over.
- What Signs do the Police Look For When Choosing to Pull Me Over?As mentioned above, the police will have reasonable suspicion to pull you over if they see you breaking a law. They can pull you over for speeding, failing to use a signal, or having a broken taillight. If the police notice signs that you are intoxicated when they pull you over, they may gain reasonable cause to believe you are drunk driving. This gives them a legal basis for giving you a breathalyzer or field sobriety test.The police can also pull you over if they suspect you are drunk driving, even if they don’t see you actually breaking any rules of the road. In court, your lawyer may be able to challenge the circumstances and driving behavior that led the officer to believe you were drunk driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, the sings of possible impaired driving include:- Making needlessly wide radius turns
– Driving over the line
– Weaving or swerving
– Driving too close to an obstacle
– Driving more than 10mph below the speed limit
– Stopping or slowing down for no reason
– Driving into opposing or crossing traffic
– Following too closely
– Using turn signals in a way that’s inconsistent with your driving actions
– Responding slowly to a traffic light
– Driving without headlights
– Accelerating rapidly
- What Signs of Intoxication do the Police Look for When They Pull Me Over?Once the police pull you over, they will look for symptoms of intoxication. If they don’t notice any signs that you are drunk or high, and you haven’t broken any laws, they cannot detain you for long. The signs they look for are:- A flushed face
– Red or glassy eyes
– Dilated Pupils
– Smell of alcohol
– Slurred speech
– Odd behavior, confusion, or inability to understand the officer’s questions
– Fumbling with wallet or registration
– Soiled or messy clothingAlthough these factors may give the officer reason to believe you are intoxicated, a good Indianapolis DUI lawyer can help you provide innocent explanations for these “symptoms,” which could lead to the dismissal of the charges against you.
- Do I need to Submit to Breathalyzer Test, Blood Test, or Urine Test?When you drive a car in Indiana you implicitly agree that you will submit to chemical testing when an officer has reasonable cause to believe that you are operating your vehicle while under the influence. If you refuse such a test, you may face a one-year suspension of your license or a two-year suspension if you have a previous conviction.In the case that you are actually over the limit, your license may get suspended anyway if you get convicted of drunk driving. By agreeing to submit to the test, you will provide the authorities with crucial evidence they need to prove your guilt. So unless you are sure that your blood alcohol is under the limit, it may be in your best interest to refuse the test.
- Should I Plead Guilty to My Charges?
Seen the harsh consequences of an OWI conviction, you should avoid pleading guilty to your charges at all costs. Hiring a lawyer and defending your case may be costly and time consuming, but it’s a fair price to pay to maintain your freedom, reputation, and driving privileges.
A skilled criminal defense lawyer can challenge the legality of the traffic stop that led to your arrest, demonstrate that the officer lacked probable cause of your intoxication, or show that the chemical tests were administered improperly. If you’ve been charged with OWI and are unsure whether you should plead guilty or not, call Hessler Law today.
We’ll give you a confidential consultation, free of charge. Call an Indianapolis OWI lawyer today at (317) 886-8800. Attorney Sean Hessler can help you through the Indianapolis criminal defense process.