As a criminal defense attorney, I frequently hear from friends and acquaintances,… “I don’t know how you defend criminals or those drunks on the road”. Let me be clear about this. I don’t want impaired drivers on the road. I have friends and family that I want to be safe on the road. I don’t want any person maimed, injured or killed by a driver operating under the influence of any impairing substances. Impaired driving is and most certainly should be illegal.
However, the focus of DUI enforcement, sometimes, is not on impairment. It has changed its focus to BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration). For the most part, the State is not interested in impairment. It is interested in BAC. BAC ignores whether a person is impaired. It convicts solely upon a number.
Getting stopped for drunk driving (commonly referred to as DUI), is a serious offense and can have different consequences depending upon the county in which you live. All states have a “per se” law defining it as a crime to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at a level at or above the prescribed threshold level. At the present time, this threshold level is .08%.
Getting stopped. When you are stopped for DUI or for something else and the police officer has a reason to believe that you have been drinking, you will generally be asked to take sobriety tests. These are called the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. The officers use these tests as an opportunity to develop probable cause to support offering you a certified chemical test under the Indiana Implied Consent Law.
Every state in the country has some sort of “drunk driving” legislation. The term “drunk driving” is in quotes because none of these laws require the driver to be drunk or intoxicated to be guilty. All that is required is that your ability to operate a motor vehicle has been impaired to any extent at all, or that your blood alcohol exceeds the state limit, which is now .08%. Some states call it a DUI, DWI, OWI, or OUI. In Indiana, it is most likely called OVWI (operating a vehicle while impaired). The consequences of DUI differ dramatically from state to state and are influenced by your age, blood alcohol content (BAC), prior criminal history and whether you caused injury or death during the operation of a vehicle. Deciding whether or not to hire an attorney is a personal decision. Here are a few things you should consider before hiring an attorney.
A DUI lawyer can help with the following:
- Assessing your legal situation. An experienced attorney can help you understand what you are up against and the fines that you may be required to pay. In addition. Hansen Law Firm, LLC, offers a free initial consultation, which may be worthwhile if you don’t understand the procedure.
- Explaining the consequences. The consequences of a DUI vary greatly from state to state. Hansen Law Firm, LLC, is able to explain those consequences that apply to you, such as:
- harsher penalties for those arrested with higher blood alcohol concentration levels;
- special laws for underage drivers arrested for DUI;
- possible community service or plea bargaining options;
- overlapping jurisdiction of the court’s and the state’s motor vehicle licensing department to suspend or revoke your license; and
- probationary and/or hardship and/or restricted license programs that allow you to use your vehicle to get to and from work, as well as potentially, other matters.
- Should you hire Hansen Law Firm? The answer to this question depends upon your personal and financial situation, as well as your ability to handle the process on your own. Here are some general guidelines:
- Definitely: You definitely should hire Hansen Law Firm, or any experienced DUI lawyer if you already have several DUIs and receive another; or if your DUI arrest was the result of an accident, or if anyone was injured; or, if you are a professional driver whose livelihood depends on you keeping your license.
- Probably. You should seriously consider hiring Hansen Law Firm, or an experienced DUI lawyer if you have been arrested for a second DUI in the same or another state, or were arrested with a BAC limit in excess of the state’s legal limit, as harsher penalties may apply.
- Likely. You likely would want to hire Hansen Law Firm, or another experienced DUI lawyer if you don’t understand your rights or your state’s DUI laws, what you need to do, or the consequences you face. You also may want legal representation if you are in a profession that requires bonding, or in which any criminal conviction might prevent you from getting or keeping your professional license. If you don’t know these requirements, then you need expert advice before handling any case on your own.