Caught Drunk Driving in Hancock County?
It’s important to understand that if you’re caught drunk driving in Hancock County, Indiana, you will face very serious criminal penalties, and like most other states, the penalties for those convicted of a DUI only become more severe with repeat offenses. Therefore, if you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, it is imperative that you call an experienced Hancock County DUI lawyer immediately.
Keffer Hirschauer LLP employs a team of skilled litigators that have received numerous accolades for their DUI defense services. Our DUI defense team is one of just a handful in the state of Indiana that is led by two former Fatal Alcohol Crash Team (FACT) prosecutors. Who better to represent and protect you than a team with unique insight into the prosecution’s strategy?
Time is of the essence when it comes to a DUI arrest in Indiana. If you or your loved one needs a drunk driving attorney, call a Hancock County DUI lawyer from Keffer Hirschauer LLP today. We are ready to begin building your DUI defense and will pursue the best possible resolution in your case, whether that be minimizing your penalty or having the charges dismissed completely. Contact Keffer Hirschauer LLP today by calling (317) 751-7186 or by completing our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Penalties for Drunk Driving in Hancock County
Those convicted of drunk driving in Hancock County, Indiana, face a variety of different penalties, all of which are dependent on the specific circumstances surrounding their arrest. For first-time offenders, the penalties may be on the lighter side. Habitual traffic violators, however, often receive the most severe penalties. Regardless of your specific situation, it is important for those charged with OWI offenses to know the possible consequences.
Indiana DUI Penalties for a First-Time Offender
Probation: 2-year maximum
Jail: 1-year maximum sentence
Court costs and fees: $300+
License suspension: 2-years maximum
Other Penalties: Mandatory substance abuse education; attendance at a victim impact panel; and random urine testing for drugs and alcohol
Indiana DUI Penalties for a Second-Time Offender
Probation: 2.5-year maximum
Fines: $10,000 maximum
Jail: 3-year maximum sentence
Court costs and fees: $300+
License suspension: 180-day minimum, 2-year maximum
Other Penalties: Mandatory substance abuse education; attendance at a victim impact panel; court-ordered community service; random urine testing for drugs and alcohol; felony conviction on your criminal record
Indiana DUI Penalties for a Third-Time Offender
Probation: 2.5-year minimum
Fines: $10,000 maximum
Jail: 3-year maximum sentence; if deemed a habitual vehicular substance offender, additional jail time of up to 8 years (see Indiana Code 9-30-15.5)
Court costs and fees: $300+
Other Penalties: Mandatory substance abuse education; attendance at a victim impact panel; court-ordered community service; random urine testing for drugs and alcohol; conviction of a Level 6 Felony on your criminal record
Collateral Consequences of Drunk Driving in Hancock County, Indiana
In addition to the penalties associated with being convicted of drunk driving in Hancock County, offenders also experience a variety of collateral consequences. For example, people with certain parental rights who get convicted of a DUI could lose child custody and have their visitation rights restricted. Furthermore, it may cause additional strain when it comes to paying child support, given the negative impact a criminal record may have on finding employment.
If convicted of a criminal offense in Hancock County, Indiana, your criminal history will be available to any potential employers who run a criminal background check. In addition, for those in occupations that require a professional license, a DUI conviction may result in your license being suspended, revoked, or denied. To limit both the legal and collateral consequences of a drunk driving arrest, you will need to retain the services of a Hancock County drunk driving lawyer who has experience mounting a successful DUI defense in Indiana courts.
The defense attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are all former deputy prosecutors who have successfully prosecuted and defended thousands of individuals charged with DUIs in Indiana. When you choose to work with our DUI Defense team, we make sure to fully investigate your case, the legality of any actions taken by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, and ultimately, pursue the most favorable outcome for in the case against you. We handle each case urgently and tailor our defense strategies to help reduce or completely dismiss the charges against you. Want to speak with a drunk driving attorney today? Contact Keffer Hirschauer LLP at (317) 751-7186 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with a Hancock County defense lawyer.
Building a Defense for Charges of Drunk Driving in Hancock County
The penalties for DUI convictions listed above are maximum penalties. This means that, in some cases, they can be argued down, minimized, or even dismissed altogether. The Hancock County DUI Lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP, we have developed dynamic, effective defense strategies that provide every client charged with drunk driving in Hancock County with the best possible chance at an optimal outcome of their case. The following are examples of the drunk driving defense strategies that our Indiana defense attorneys may use to protect a client.
Improper Stop by Police
In Indiana, police cannot just pull you over for no reason. Instead, they must have reasonable suspicion that a crime or infraction has occurred or shall occur. For example, some observed actions that could qualify for a reasonable suspicion include swerving across lanes, driving with the lights off or speeding.
False-Positive Breathalyzer Test
There are a number of things that why may cause the results of a breathalyzer test to be skewed, including the suspect’s medical conditions, food intake, and use of certain oral products. Furthermore, the results could be skewed when a police officer doesn’t operate the breathalyzer properly or fails to observe the suspect for 15 minutes prior to administering the test. These results can be found through careful examination of arrest records and data by a Hancock County DUI Attorney and form the basis for an argument that the test results should be thrown out completely.
Failure to Administer Field Sobriety Tests Properly
The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) includes the horizontal gaze nystagmus, one-leg stand, and walk-and-turn. When administering this test, officers must follow specific protocols and adhere to strict rules to ensure the SFSTs are accurate and reliable. Unfortunately, many police officers give improper directions, administer these tests in bad conditions, and make a variety of other mistakes that lead to drivers being falsely accused of intoxication.
Illegal Search and Seizure
The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects US citizens from unreasonable search and seizure. This means that police officers must, by law, obtain a valid search warrant under certain circumstances. However, those circumstances are limited, and warrantless searches are permitted more often than you might think.
For example, if an officer pulls you over for driving 20 mph below the posted speed limit and spots empty beer bottles in your passenger seat—in plain view—the officer may seize that evidence without a warrant. This is because the bottles are in plain view and are potentially connected to criminal activities.
However, if the officer conducted an unlawful search or seizure that produced the only evidence that would support a conviction, your Hancock County drunk driving attorney could potentially get your case dismissed.
Violation of Miranda Rights
After you are arrested, and before you are interrogated, police must read you your Miranda warning. If you are in custody, the police cannot ask you questions unless you have been Mirandized. If the police take you into custody, but fail to Mirandize you, then any statements you make can be excluded in the case against you.
Police, however, are not required to read your Miranda Warning if you are not in custody. So, if you have not been arrested and say something voluntarily, that statement may be used against you in court.
Lack of Probable Cause for Arrest
Reasonable suspicion is not enough to warrant an arrest all on its own. An officer must follow proper protocol and examine the driver’s license, registration, administer SFSTs, and do the breathalyzer test. After all this, if there is not sufficient evidence to support the officer’s suspicion, the driver should be free to go. If the officer arrests the driver anyway, a skilled Hancock County DUI lawyer might be able to successfully argue that the officer lacked probable cause for arrest, dismissing the case all together.
Poor Maintenance of Blood Samples
A trained, licensed professional must collect, analyze, and store a DUI suspect’s blood tests properly. If the blood samples are not stored at the right temperatures, are mislabeled, or are collected by an untrained professional, then the entire sample may be called into question, and possibly tossed out.
Inconsistent or Unreliable Testimony by Police
Any police officer involved in your arrest may be called to testify in court about the charge(s) pending against you. When on the stand, the officer may ask about their observations during the arrest and what is included in the resulting police report. If the officer’s testimony does not reflect what was recorded in the police report, then an experienced Hancock County DUI Attorney may question the officer’s integrity and reliability. If the questioning is successful, that officer’s testimony may be disregarded, which could lead to the case being dismissed.
Need to Speak with a Hancock County DUI Attorney Today?
When you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Hancock County, Indiana, the first thing you need to do is call an attorney. Timing is critical to minimizing your potential penalties and protecting your rights. If you or a loved one needs to speak with an aggressive, experienced attorney, call a Hancock County DUI lawyer from Keffer Hirschauer LLP at (317) 751-7186 or fill out our online contact form today.