What Constitutes Felony Speeding in Indiana?
Speeding in Indiana can lead to serious legal consequences, especially when it escalates to felony speeding. Understanding the intricacies of this law is crucial for anyone facing such charges. At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, our seasoned Indiana traffic attorneys have extensive experience in defending clients against severe traffic violations, including aggressive driving, reckless driving and felony speeding in Indiana. Our attorneys can assist you in building a strong, sound defense aimed at reducing potential criminal penalties and protecting your ability to stay on the road.
Each client who retains our legal representation receives trusted, experienced one-on-one counsel. In fact, one of our founding attorneys, Mr. Bradley Keffer, is a past chair of the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum program responsible for educating lawyers about traffic violations, while our other founding partner, Mr. Tom Hirschauer has been a presenter at multiple legal conferences regarding traffic law matters. Given their past experience, you can be confident that your case is in good hands.
Laws on Felony Speeding in Indiana
In Indiana, speeding can become a felony offense under certain circumstances, transcending well beyond a mere traffic violation. Understanding the threshold at which speeding becomes a felony is crucial. It’s not just the speedometer reading that matters; other considerations like the location of the offense (e.g., school zones, construction areas), prior traffic violations, and the presence of aggravating factors play a significant role.
Indiana’s Reckless Driving Laws
While there are no explicit laws on felony speeding in Indiana, there are related laws on reckless driving. Under Indiana Code 9-21-8-52, a person may be charged with reckless driving when caught “driving at such an unreasonably high rate of speed that you are endangering the safety or property of others, or blocking the proper flow of traffic.” In addition, a person may also be charged with reckless driving when “speeding up or refusing to give one-half (1/2) of the roadway to a driver overtaking and desiring to pass.”
At the lowest level, reckless driving in Indiana is considered to be a Class C misdemeanor. However, when certain factors are at play, the charge may be elevated. For instance, if the actions of the driver resulted in the damage of another person’s property, it can be elevated to a Class B misdemeanor; or if the driver’s actions caused bodily injury to another person, a Class A misdemeanor.
In certain cases, a person may even be charged with a felony for reckless driving. This can occur when the reckless driver passes a school bus stopped on a roadway or private road, while the arm signal device is in an extended position, and causes either bodily injury or death to another person.
Indiana’s Aggressive Driving Laws
In addition to reckless driving, a person may be charged with a crime related to felony speeding in Indiana if it is found that they have engaged in aggressive driving under Indiana Code 9-21-8-55. Per this section of Indiana law, aggressive driving can occur when a driver, during one continuous episode, does or commits at least three (3) of the following actions:
- Following a vehicle too closely in violation of IC 9-21-8-14.
- Unsafe operation of a vehicle in violation of IC 9-21-8-24.
- Overtaking another vehicle on the right by driving off the roadway in violation of IC 9-21-8-6.
- Unsafe stopping or slowing a vehicle in violation of IC 9-21-8-26.
- Unnecessary sounding of the horn in violation of IC 9-19-5-2.
- Failure to yield in violation of IC 9-21-8-29 through IC 9-21-8-34.
- Failure to obey a traffic control device in violation of IC 9-21-8-41.
- Driving at an unsafe speed in violation of IC 9-21-5.
- Repeatedly flashing the vehicle’s headlights.
Under most circumstances, aggressive driving is considered a Class A misdemeanor in Indiana. However, as provided by Indiana Code 9-21-8-56, this charge can be elevated to a Level 5 or Level 6 felony if the driver recklessly operated the vehicle, or recklessly failed to obey a traffic control device or flagman, in the immediate vicinity of a highway worksite when workers were present AND one of the following circumstances apply:
- The person has a prior, unrelated conviction under Indiana Code 9-21-8-56 within the previous five years
- The person was operating the vehicle in violation of Indiana’s drinking and driving laws
- The offense resulted in bodily injury to a worker in the worksite
- The offense resulted in the death of a worker in the worksite
Potential Penalties for Felony Speeding in Indiana
As prescribed under the Indiana Sentencing guidelines, the potential criminal penalties for felony speeding in Indiana range from 6 months to 2.5 years in prison for a Level 6 felony to 1-6 years in prison for a Level 5 felony. In addition, a person convicted of a felony in Indiana may be fined up to $10,000 for each conviction.
On top of the criminal penalties associated with these convictions, offenders may also experience collateral consequences that extend beyond immediate legal ramifications. First, in Indiana, those with felony convictions on their criminal record may find it difficult to secure solid employment, especially in roles that require a clean driving record. They may also have trouble obtaining financial assistance or quality housing. Second, those convicted of an offense related to felony speeding in Indiana will have to forfeit certain civil rights, such as the ability to possess and carry a firearm, until they’ve been granted a felony expungement in Indiana.
Finally, under some circumstances, the offender may have their Indiana driver’s license suspended. Depending on the context of the offense or the amount of points the person’s driver’s license, the suspension could be for a period of up to one year. However, the suspension may be even longer if the offender is deemed to be a habitual traffic violator in Indiana.
Defending Against Reckless and Aggressive Driving Charges
When facing charges related to felony speeding in Indiana, a strong legal defense is critical. Experienced Indiana traffic lawyers, like those at Keffer Hirschauer LLP, can employ various strategies depending on the specifics of the case.
Challenging the Evidence: This involves scrutinizing the methods and accuracy of how the speeding was recorded, such as radar or laser gun accuracy, and the possibility of equipment malfunction or operator error.
Contesting the Officer’s Observations: Defense may question the officer’s perception or interpretation of events, especially in cases lacking technological speed measurement.
Presenting Mitigating Circumstances: If there were extenuating circumstances that led to the speeding, these could be presented to potentially reduce the severity of the charges.
Negotiating Plea Bargains: In some cases, negotiating a plea for lesser charges is a viable strategy, especially when the evidence against the accused is not strong.
Each case requires a tailored approach, leveraging legal expertise to navigate the complexities of Indiana’s traffic laws. A knowledgeable defense attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of a felony speeding case. On top of that, they may also be able to assist you in preventing an Indiana driver’s license suspension, or obtaining the specialized driving privileges required for you to continue working and caring for your family.
Charged with a Felony Speeding Offense in Indiana?
Understanding the laws and consequences of felony speeding in Indiana is crucial for anyone facing such charges. This serious legal matter demands knowledgeable representation to navigate the complex legal system effectively.
If you’ve been charged with an offense related to felony speeding in Indiana, the criminal defense lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are available to assist you. Our firm’s approach to defending felony reckless or aggressive driving cases in Indiana is grounded in a deep understanding of state traffic laws and a commitment to our clients’ rights. Our experienced Indiana traffic attorneys adopt a comprehensive strategy that includes:
- Thorough Case Analysis: We meticulously review every detail of the case, from the traffic stop to the charges filed.
- Personalized Defense Strategies: Recognizing that each case is unique, we tailor our defense to suit the specific circumstances and needs of our clients.
- Client Advocacy: We vigorously advocate for our clients; ensuring their side of the story is heard and their rights are protected throughout the legal process.
- Negotiation and Litigation Skills: Our team is skilled in negotiating with prosecutors and, if necessary, litigating in court to seek the best possible outcome.
To better ensure that you’re doing everything possible to protect your future and reduce the impact of felony charges, contact our firm today at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.