Have You Been Charged with a DUI in West Lafayette, Indiana?
If you’ve been charged with a DUI in West Lafayette, Indiana, you’re probably quite anxious right now. That’s to be expected, as DUIs in Indiana carry serious criminal penalties; and those penalties are even more severe for repeat offenders. Given this, if you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, it is imperative that you call an experienced Tippecanoe County DUI lawyer immediately.
The Indiana criminal defense law firm of Keffer Hirschauer LLP employs a team of skilled litigators that have received multiple accolades for their DUI defense services. In fact, our team is led by a former Tippecanoe County deputy prosecutor who worked on the Fatal Alcohol Crash Team (FACT). Who better to represent and protect you than an attorney with unique insight into the prosecution’s strategy?
If you or your loved one needs a drunk driving attorney, call a Tippecanoe 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 penalties or having the charges dismissed altogether. Contact Keffer Hirschauer LLP today by calling (317) 751-7186 or by completing our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Penalties for DUI in West Lafayette, Indiana
Those charged with a DUI in West Lafayette, Indiana, face a variety of different penalties; all of which are dependent on the circumstances surrounding their arrest. Per Indiana Code 9-30-5-1, those who are first-time offenders, and whose blood/breath alcohol concentration was below .15%, could be convicted of a Class C misdemeanor. This is a relatively low-level offense, but could still result in up to 60 days in jail, and up to two years of probation and license suspension. In addition, they’ll have to cover hundreds of dollars in court costs and fees and may be required to complete mandatory substance abuse education, attend a victim impact panel, or submit to random urine testing for both drugs and alcohol.
If the first-time offender was found to have a concentration over .15%, or it’s determined that they are operating their vehicle in a manner that endangers a person, they could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This is a much more serious misdemeanor offense and carries the potential penalties of up to one year in prison and upwards of $5,000 in fines and fees. Furthermore, the offender would be subject to additional penalties like probation, license suspension, random drug, and alcohol testing, etc.
Habitual traffic violators, on the other hand, often receive the most severe penalties. As detailed below, those who are convicted of a second or third DUI in West Lafayette could face up to 8 years in prison and a lifetime license suspension.
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+
- License suspension: If determined to be a habitual traffic violator, 5-year to lifetime license suspension (see Indiana Code 9-30-10)
- 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 for a DUI in West Lafayette, Indiana
Regardless of your specific situation, it is important for those charged with OWI offenses to know the possible consequences and speak with a Tippecanoe County DUI lawyer as soon as possible. The reason this is so important is that the penalties related to a DUI conviction can extend much further than one’s actual sentence. If you’ve been convicted of drunk driving, or any criminal offense for that matter, in Tippecanoe County, your criminal records will be available to anyone who runs a criminal background check. This includes employers, landlords, banks, etc. In addition, the sheer existence of a criminal record could complicate things like child custody agreements or visitation rights. Furthermore, it could cause additional strain when it comes to making child support payments, given the negative impact a DUI conviction could have on securing sound employment.
To limit both the legal and collateral consequences of a drunk driving arrest, you will need to retain the services of an Indiana drunk driving lawyer. As former deputy prosecutors, the defense attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP have both successfully prosecuted and defended thousands of individuals charged with DUIs in Indiana. When you choose to work with our team, we make sure to fully investigate your case, the legality of any actions taken by the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office, and ultimately, pursue the most favorable outcome in the case 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.
Tippecanoe County DUI Lawyer: Common Defenses
Although the maximum penalties for a DUI in Indiana can be rather harsh, an experienced Tippecanoe County DUI lawyer can argue them down, minimize them or even have them dismissed altogether. The Indiana criminal defense attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP have developed dynamic, effective defense strategies that provide every client charged with a DUI in West Lafayette with the best possible chance of securing an optimal outcome of their case. The following are examples of the drunk driving defense strategies that our DUI lawyers may use to help protect a client.
Improper Stop by Police: When the police pulled you over, did they have reasonable suspicion that a crime or infraction has or was going to occur? Were you swerving across lanes, driving with the lights off, or speeding? If not, your attorney may be able to argue that your traffic stop was improper.
False-Positive Breathalyzer Test: There are various things that may cause the results of a breathalyzer test to be skewed, including improper operation of the breathalyzer by the police officer or failure 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; and ultimately, form the basis for an argument that the test results should be thrown out completely.
Failure to Administer Field Sobriety Tests Properly: When administering the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) officers must follow specific protocols and adhere to strict rules to ensure the SFSTs are accurate and reliable. Unfortunately, many police officers 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. However, if the officer conducted an unlawful search or seizure that produced the only evidence that would support a conviction, a Tippecanoe County DUI lawyer could potentially get your case dismissed.
Violation of Miranda Rights: If your answers to questions by law enforcement during a custodial interrogation are allowed to be admitted in court, police are required to read you your Miranda warning. 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 or if they are not seeking to use your statements against you. But, you should remember, if you say something voluntarily, that statement may be used against you in court.
Poor Maintenance of Blood Samples: As required by Indiana law, a trained, licensed professional must collect, analyze, and store a DUI suspect’s blood tests properly. If those samples are not stored at the right temperatures, are mislabeled, or are collected by an untrained professional, then the samples could be called into question, and possibly tossed out.
Inconsistent or Unreliable Testimony by Police: Every police officer that was present for your arrest can be called to testify in court about the charge(s) made against you. When on the stand, your attorney can ask the officer(s) about their observations during the arrest and the details included in the resulting police report. If the officer’s testimony does not reflect what was written in the police report, then an experienced attorney could try to call into question the officer’s integrity and reliability. If successful, that officer’s testimony could be disregarded by the court, potentially leading to the dismissal of the case.
Want to Speak with a Tippecanoe County DUI Lawyer Today?
If you have been arrested for a DUI in West Lafayette or elsewhere in Tippecanoe County, you’ll want to hire the best possible criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Timing is critical when it comes to minimizing your potential penalties and protecting your rights.
To put yourself in an optimal position, contact the DUI defense lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP. Our team is led by former deputy prosecutors, Bradley Keffer and Tom F. Hirschauer III, both of whom are members of the National College of DUI Defense, as well as Fatal Alcohol Crash Team (FACT) prosecutors. Their vast experience in this area of Indiana law provides clients invaluable insight and sound representation.
If you’d like to speak with a Tippecanoe County DUI lawyer today (317) 751-7186 or fill out our online contact form today.