It is very important for anyone who has been arrested for drunk driving or a similar crime in any state, contact an experienced criminal lawyer immediately to discuss his options and how to make an informed decision about what defense he should pursue in court. A good Indiana OWI lawyer for drunk driving charges in Indiana can be crucial in order to save you from jail time and fines that can cause you to lose your driver's license.
If you are wondering what happens when you get a DUI, well, most states have BAC limits and criminal penalties associated with driving under the influence of alcohol; however, Indiana law requires per se OWI cases to be handled by a special attorney. In general, a drunken driving offense under the legal definition of BAC limits (as opposed to the defendant's actual level of intoxication) is called a "per se" OWI, since the intoxicated driver is known to have been operating a motor vehicle at a given level of intoxication prior to the accident.
Some states do not differentiate between an intoxicated driver and a "per se" offender, but many DUI attorneys in Indianapolis would argue that there is a difference between the two. A drunk driver who is found to be under BAC limits is charged with a BAC crime; however, the case may still proceed if evidence shows that the defendant was not driving under the influence at the time of the accident. Therefore, an attorney representing a client who has been arrested for drunken driving must be aware of these distinctions between a "per se" case and one that is being prosecuted for intoxication.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will know which cases are better handled by having a per se conviction as opposed to an intoxication conviction. He or she will also have extensive experience in all aspects of drunk-driving laws and the court system in general, so that the client receives the maximum possible sentence for the crime. Hiring a drunk driving attorney can help to secure not only the best possible outcome but also the most favorable resolution with the prosecutor, the judge, and the jury.
Even though it is possible for a defendant to avoid being convicted of a "per se" OWI by pleading guilty to another charge, most defense attorneys strongly recommend that their clients avoid this approach. Plea agreements are designed to provide defendants with a chance to plead guilty to a lesser offense (and the related penalty), but not to avoid a criminal conviction.
Another situation that most drunk-driving lawyers are wary of is a case where a drunk driver is charged with drunk-driving even though the only person charged with drunken driving has a suspended license. Some judges will grant the suspended driver probation because the charges carry less severe penalties than a criminal conviction. But, such a lenient outcome is rarely warranted in a case involving the operation of a motor vehicle; in most cases, the courts are unwilling to consider probation because they feel that the driver did indeed commit the crime. If a DUI conviction is entered, the suspension of driver's license may be eliminated in favor of a period of ignition interlock device (IID), ignition interlock devices (IID's), which can prevent the ignition switch from being used on a vehicle for seven years.