When you are pulled over for an alleged Operating While Intoxicated, or OWI, in Indiana, you will most likely be asked to submit to a certified chemical test, which normally would be either a breath test or a blood test. The office conducting the OWI investigation is required to inform you of your Implied Consent. The officer would state that he has probable cause to believe you are OWI and would request that you submit to a certified chemical test. The officer will inform you that if you fail the chemical test, meaning you test above the legal limit, your driver’s license will be suspended for six months. If you refuse the chemical test, your license will be suspended for 1 full year. The kicker with the refusal is you will not be eligible for Specialized Driving Privileges(SDP).
Lately, many counties in Indiana are no longer willing to terminate the year long refusal suspension, even if the defendant is willing to admit guilt and plead out. So, many IN drivers are stuck without the ability to drive for a full calendar year. This even affects persons who are facing their first OWI conviction. If you have had past OWI convictions, you could be looking at 2 full years of no driving!
So, you find yourself facing a full year license suspension because you choose not to submit to a chemical test and you are not eligible for SDP. What options do you have at that point? First, there is always taxis and Uber. Unfortunately, if you need to pay for Uber everyday to get to where you need to go, say, to and from work, those costs add up very quickly and, in some cases, some people would be going to work and making just enough to pay for their Uber. A second option would be to rely on transportation from family and friends. In my experience, I have found that people are willing to help out and give a ride here and there, but to become a dedicated chauffeur to someone who can’t drive because they are in trouble for drinking and driving is usually not a situation most people would want to put themselves in. A third option would be to not drive at all for that period of suspension. If we were living in New York City or even Chicago, we may be able to survive a year suspension and just rely on public transportation. In New York, the subways, taxis, and buses provide enough public transportation that many New Yorkers do not even possess a license of their own. However, living in the Midwest does not afford us the ability to 100% rely on public transportation. Many rural areas of Indiana do not have access to reliable public transportation and even the public transportation in more urban areas, such as Indianapolis, are not extensive enough to get most people from their homes to their required destinations, without having to walk quite a bit of distance.
An alternate mode of transportation that more and more people with suspended licenses are turning to is the scooter. In order to drive a scooter in Indiana, the operator must be at least 15 years of age. You must also have one of the following:
- Valid Driver’s License
- Valid Driver’s Permit
- Unexpired State Identification Card with a motor driven cycle endorsement
In order to get a motor driven cycle endorsement, you will need to go to your local In BMV office branch and take a 25-question written exam. If you pass, you will receive your motor driven cycle endorsement, allowing you to drive your scooter. However, before you can actually drive your scooter out of the roadways, you will need to register your scooter with the IN BMV by showing one of the following:
- Certificate of Title
- Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin
- Bill of Sale
- Ownership Affidavit
In regards to insurance, if you have received your Class B motor driven cycle endorsement, you do not have to obtain insurance on the scooter before your drive it.
Keep in mind, there are no classifications for motor driven cycles: Class A and Class B. If your license is suspended, you will not be eligible to drive a Class A cycle. You will only be allowed to drive a Class B motor driven cycle. A Class B motor driven cycle is defined as a motor vehicle that:
- Has a seat or saddle doe use of the rider
- Is designed to travel on no more than 3 wheels on the ground
- Complies with applicable motor vehicle equipment requirements under IC 9-19 and 49 CFR 571
- Has a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 cubic centimeters; and
- Is registered as a Motor Driven Cycle-Class B
The Class B Cycle can only have a 50cc motor, which is not very powerful. You will be restricted to a maximum speed limit of 35 MPH and no passengers are allowed to ride with you. You will also not be allowed to operate your scooter on any interstate highway.
So, while having a suspended license in Indiana can cause a great deal of hardship, there are alternate means of transportation to get you to where you need to go, in a limited capacity. Best thing to do is not to drive and drink and get suspended in the first place!