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Charged With Your 3rd DUI in Indiana? 

Regardless of whether it’s your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd DUI in Indiana, being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) can prove to be disastrous for both your personal and professional life. That being said, the penalties associated with a 3rd DUI are undoubtedly more serious than previous convictions. Under some circumstances, a conviction of this nature could result in a sentence of up to 12 years in prison and put you at risk of being adjudicated as a habitual traffic offender.  

Given the seriousness of these penalties, it’s vital that anyone charged with their 3rd DUI in Indiana retain the services of an experienced Indiana drunk driving lawyer. The criminal defense law firm of Keffer Hirschauer LLP employs a team of skilled litigators led by two former Fatal Alcohol Crash Team (FACT) deputy prosecutors, Bradley Keffer and Tom F. Hirschauer III. As members of the National College of DUI Defense, they possess the experience and knowledge required to minimize your potential penalties and protect your rights moving forward.  

If you’d like to speak with an Indiana DUI defense attorney today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule your free consultation. 

Drunk Driving in Indiana

The Basics of DUI Law in Indiana 

In order to prove that you were driving under the influence (DUI) in Indiana, the State must demonstrate that you operated a vehicle while having a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) that exceeds the legal limit for alcohol in Indiana or while having a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance (or its metabolite) in your blood. Per the laws on OWI’s in Indiana, the lowest level of this offense is a Class C misdemeanor

To determine your BAC, a law enforcement officer may ask you to take a breathalyzer. Following a positive breath test, the officer then request that you submit to a certified chemical test such as a blood test. Although you can refuse a breathalyzer or similar portable breath test (PBT), and risk a license suspension, your operation of a motor vehicle in Indiana constitutes implied consent to submit to a certified chemical test upon request by law enforcement. 

If you are convicted of Class C misdemeanor DUI for operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08 percent, you could face one or more of the following penalties: 

  • Incarceration for no more than 60 days 
  • Probation for no more than two years 
  • A fine up to $500 
  • Payment of court costs and fees 
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for up to two years 
  • Random urine and drug screening 
  • Mandatory substance abuse education and/or victim impact panel attendance 

Furthermore, if the State can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that your BAC was .15 percent or higher while operating a vehicle, or if your operation of a vehicle endangered someone, you can be convicted of Class A misdemeanor DUI. While still a misdemeanor offense, the penalties for this conviction are more serious and could include:  

  • Incarceration for no more than one year 
  • Probation of no more than two years 
  • A fine up to $5,000 
  • Payment of court costs and fees 
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for up to one year 
  • Random urine and drug screening 
  • Mandatory substance abuse education and/or victim impact panel attendance 

The Seriousness of Your 3rd DUI in Indiana 

The penalties associated with your 1st DUI in Indiana often pale in comparison to that of your 3rd DUI in Indiana. This is because prior DUI convictions have a significant impact on any future DUI charges and the potential penalties associated with a new conviction. In fact, under some circumstances, you could be charged with a felony DUI in Indiana, which carries a much longer potential period of incarceration and most substantial fines.  

Per Indiana Code 9-30-5-3, if you have had one or more DUI convictions within seven years, your criminal charge can be elevated from a misdemeanor to a Level 6 felony. Furthermore, if convicted of a third DUI in Indiana (regardless of when the previous two occurred), you could be adjudicated as a habitual traffic offender and subjected to an extended sentence, due to the fact that you are now deemed a habitual vehicular substance offender (HVSO) under Indiana Code 9-30-15.5-2.  

Potential Penalties  

Given that a 3rd DUI in Indiana is a Level 6 felony offense, a conviction could result in a sentence of between six months and 2.5 years in prison, probation of 2.5 years, a fine of up $10,000, and required payment of court costs and fees. However, this charge can be elevated to a Level 4 felony under some circumstances. If your 3rd DUI resulted in serious bodily injury or death, or you’ve had a previous, unrelated DUI conviction within the past five years, you could face up to 12 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and the required payment of court costs and fees.   

In addition, Indiana Code 9-30-5-15(b) states that anyone convicted of a 3rd DUI in Indiana could face the following additional penalties: 

  • 480 hours of community service 
  • Minimum imprisonment of ten days with at least 48 hours served consecutively 
  • Alcohol and/or drug abuse assessments and, if determined appropriate, required completion of a treatment program 
  • Adjudication as a habitual traffic violator under Indiana Code 9-30-10, resulting in license suspension for a minimum of five years or as long as the rest of your life 
  • Charges of habitual substance offenses, which may result in an additional period of imprisonment between one and eight years 

Loss of Driving Privileges 

If you are convicted of a 3rd DUI in Indiana, you risk both criminal penalties AND administrative consequences, such as the suspension of your Indiana driver’s license for at least one year or up to ten years. However, depending on the circumstances of your case, as well as your criminal and driving record, you might be eligible to apply for specialized driving privileges in Indiana.  

Per Indiana Code 9-30-16-1, specialized driving privileges in Indiana can only be applied to a license suspension of a person who held a driver’s license at the time of a criminal conviction in which the operation of a motor vehicle was an element of the offense; a conviction for operating a vehicle or boat while intoxicated; or committed the infraction of exceeding the worksite speed limit for the second time in a single year. Although, some individuals are NOT eligible for specialized driving privileges, including:   

  • a person who has never been an Indiana resident  
  • a person who committed the offense of operation of a motor vehicle causing death  
  • a person whose suspension was a result of refusing a certified chemical test despite laws regarding implied consent in Indiana (unless granted under Indiana Code 9-30-6-8(d))  
  • a person whose license or driving privileges have been revoked due to being found to be incompetent or unfit to operate a motor vehicle.  
  • a person whose license has been suspended for reckless driving or for failure to stop when a school bus is stopped and its arm is extended,  
  • a person who had previously been granted specialized driving privileges and has more than one conviction for violating a condition of these privileges, and the violation involved serious bodily injury or death, the offender would no longer be eligible for specialized driving privileges.   

If you currently have a suspended Indiana driver’s license but are interested in applying for specialized driving privileges in Indiana, it’s vital that you contact an experienced specialized driving privileges attorney. This will help ensure that no small mistakes are made when preparing or filing your petition, and ultimately, increase your chances of being able to get some of your driving privileges restored. To speak with an attorney about the application process today, call 317-751-7186  or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. The Indianapolis attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP would be happy to help you try to reinstate some of your Indiana driving privileges as soon as possible.   

Collateral Consequences 

In addition to having your Indiana driver’s license suspended, if you’ve been convicted of a 3rd DUI in Indiana and have accumulated two or more DUI convictions in the preceding five years, your vehicle could be subject to seizure by the state. Furthermore, you will also have to carry the burden of having a felony conviction on your criminal record. This means you’ll have to be truthful about your DUIs when asked about your criminal history on housing, job, and professional license applications. You’ll also lose your right to own or possess firearms or ammunition. Thankfully, however, under most circumstances, Indiana expungement law provides a remedy for these hardships following a certain period of time.  

Need to Speak with an Attorney About Your 3rd DUI in Indiana? 

Being charged with your 3rd DUI in Indiana can cost you your freedom and impact your future in a tremendous way. That’s why you need an experienced and skilled Indiana DUI lawyer to help you get ahead of the case and protect your livelihood.  

The criminal defense attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP honed their skills as deputy prosecutors, and now fight for the rights of Hoosiers and state visitors facing prosecution for DUIs and other criminal offenses. Our attorneys truly understand the intricacies of Indiana’s drinking and driving laws and have crafted dynamic, effective defense strategies aimed at securing the best possible outcome for our clients. If you need an aggressive and results-oriented defender, contact our law firm today by calling 317-857-0160 or completing our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.  

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Charged with Your 3rd DUI in Indiana?
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Charged with Your 3rd DUI in Indiana?
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This article discusses the seriousness of being charged with a 3rd DUI in Indiana, and how the drunk driving attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help.
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Keffer Hirschauer LLp

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