suhrelaw | January 5, 2017 | Criminal Law
Not all Indiana OWI cases are charged to defendants who live in Indiana. Sometimes, out of state drivers visiting Indiana will end up charged with an OWI. If you end up failing any of the requested chemical tests, or if you refuse to submit to any requested chemical test (breath, blood, or urine), your driving privileges in the State of Indiana will be suspended.
For the out of state driver, an OWI charge in Indiana could potentially have consequences not only for you in Indiana, but also in your home state. If you are an Ohio licensed driver, and if you are charged with an Indiana OWI, and either fail or refuse a requested chemical test, the IN BMV will suspend the driving privileges of that OH driver, in regards to that OH driver’s ability to drive in the State of Indiana only. If OH issued the OH driver’s license, then only the OH BMV may suspend the actual driver’s license. So, in the above example, while the OH driver would not be allowed to drive in Indiana while his driving privileges are temporarily suspended, that OH driver would still be eligible to drive in OH and all other states, excluding Indiana. Sometimes, for an out of state driver, it is beneficial to have Indiana suspend your driving privileges while your case is pending. You would be accruing credit time for each day suspended. During that Indiana suspension time, you would still be allowed to drive in your home state.
The biggest way an Indiana suspension could affect your OH license would be when you went to renew your OH license. When you renew your license, the OH BMV will run a nationwide search to see if you have any “holds” on your license. An Indiana suspension of your driving privileges would be considered a “hold” on your OH license, and you would not be able to renew your OH license until you resolve the Indiana “hold”.
If you are convicted of the OWI in Indiana, the Indiana BMV will notify the National Driver Registry, which will notify the Ohio BMV that you received an out of state OWI conviction, and you could be facing a license suspension coming from the Ohio BMV. If the Ohio BMV suspends your Ohio driver’s license, you will not be allowed to drive at all, unless you are eligible and can petition for limited driving privileges.
So, before you make any decisions regarding your OWI in Indiana, please contact Suhre & Associates, LLC to get your questions answered.
In Indiana, when you have been stopped by law enforcement and targeted for a DUI/OWI investigation, the investigating officer may ask you to submit to a chemical test to determine if you are intoxicated or under the influence. Whether you are requested to take a breath test, blood test, or a urine test, if the officer has probable cause that you are operating while intoxicated, any person who operates a vehicle in IN has given their “implied consent” to submit to that requested chemical test. According to Indiana Code 9-30-6-1, “A person who operates a vehicle impliedly consents to submit to the chemical test provisions of this chapter as a condition of operating a vehicle in Indiana.” If you choose not to consent to the requested chemical test, you will be facing consequences, regardless of whether you are found guilty or not guilty of the OWI charge. While you have the right to refuse any requested chemical test, it does not mean law enforcement has no other options. Typically, after a person ahs refused a requested test, law enforcement applies and are usually granted search warrants, whereby the officer would then be able to take you to a nearby hospital, and, if necessary, by force, take samples of your blood. From there, the blood would be sent out for testing to determine your blood alcohol concentration.
If you choose to refuse the requested chemical test, the investigating officer will inform you of possible license suspensions as a result of your refusal. A refusal will result in 1 year suspension for anyone charged with their first DUI/OWI. If you have had a prior conviction for DUI/OWI, you will be facing a two year suspension. These suspensions could potentially run consecutive to any suspension you may receive from the court if you are found guilty. For example, if you are charged with DUI/OWI and refused the requested test and, later, plead guilty, and sentenced to a 90 day suspension (and not have the refusal suspension terminated), you would be looking at, in total, a 15 month suspension for a first offense.
Another critical aspect to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to refuse the requested test is the fact that defendants charged with DUI/OWI with a refusal are NOT eligible for Specialized Driving Privileges (SDP). The only way to become eligible to even petition for SDP would be to have the refusal suspension terminated. Keep in mind, while your case is pending, the chances of having the refusal suspension terminated are slim. Termination typically occurs as a term of a plea agreement and only occurs after the defendant has pleaded guilty.