If you have been arrested for Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (or OWI), you are facing fines, possible jail time, and the loss of your driver’s license. The loss of your driver’s license is a separate penalty from those you may face in criminal court because it is an administrative penalty processed through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. If you request an administrative hearing to contest the suspension, it will take place before you have your final court date for the OWI criminal charge.
If you have been arrested on suspicion of OWI, you need to understand how your driving privileges will be affected after an arrest, even before you have been found guilty or not guilty. Contact Hessler Law, PC at (317) 886-8800 or use our online contact form to learn about how an OWI arrest can affect your driver’s license and how to contest suspension of your driver’s license.
Implied Consent Laws and Administrative Suspension
If you are pulled over and are suspected of a driving under the influence of alcohol or an intoxicating substance, including prescription medication, the investigating officer may request that you submit a sample of your breath, blood, or urine to test for drugs or alcohol in your system.
By driving on roads in Indiana, you agree that you will submit to testing based on implied consent laws. Implied consent means that you must agree to testing at the request of a certified law enforcement officer or risk having your driver’s license revoked. You are only required to submit to certified testing which is usually done at the jail or police station on a machine that has been calibrated according to state guidelines.
You are not required to submit to testing by a portable breath test that an officer may administer on the side of the road. You are also not required to submit to field sobriety tests—these are the tests that an officer may administer when you are pulled over or at the police station to test for impairment such as the walk-and-turn test, the one-leg stand test, and the nystagmus test. Field sobriety tests and portable breath tests may be used to obtain probable cause for your arrest. The results of a portable breath test may not be used against you in court.
If you submit to a chemical test and the test shows a positive result for drugs or alcohol, your driver’s license will be suspended for 180 days. If you refuse to submit to a test, your license will be suspended for one or two years depending on whether or not you have a previous OWI conviction on your record.
If you are facing the suspension of your driver’s license, you will have the opportunity to contest the suspension at an administrative hearing at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) office. You may be able to appear by phone or Skype if you submit a request at least 10 days prior to the date your your hearing. If you are unable to appear at the hearing, you may also ask an attorney to appear for you on your behalf. At the administrative hearing, you or your attorney may present evidence on your behalf, including your testimony and the testimony of any witnesses.
After hearing all evidence at the administrative hearing, the administrative law judge presiding over your case will issue written findings regarding your driving privileges. If you disagree with these findings, you may request reconsideration by submitting a written request to the address listed in the decision. You may also request a judicial review by filing an appeal. If no reconsideration or appeal is requested within the time allowed by law, the order will become final and binding.
Certified Testing Requirements
If you submit to a test for alcohol or drugs of your breath, blood or urine, the test must be done by an officer certified to conduct the test and in accordance with requirements established by state law. If the officer who administers the test fails to perform the test in accordance with these guidelines, it may be possible to contest the results of the test in court. However, keep in mind that you may face penalties on your driving record prior to the disposition of the underlying OWI charge.
Speak to an Indianapolis OWI Lawyer
If you have been charged with an OWI, contact our office right away to schedule a consultation with an experienced OWI attorney at Hessler Law, PC. An administrative suspension of your driver’s license may go into effect before your criminal charge can be resolved but will not be used as evidence of your guilt in the underlying charge. At Hessler Law, PC, we are dedicated to fighting your charges at every stage of your case. Call us at (317) 886-8800 or fill out our online contact form.