Prior to the determination of guilt or innocence within an Indiana dui prosecution, the person charged will have his or her license suspended by the Indiana Bureau Of Motor Vehicles if mere probable cause exists to suggest a failed or refused test for intoxication.
Within dui cases in Hamilton county and elsewhere, once probable cause has been found by a judge that one has registered above a .08 through a breath test or blood draw submission or if a judge has determined that an individual had refused to submit to a breath test, an administrative drivers license suspension usually begins at or near the time of the Defendant’s initial hearing for dui in court.
Unless a refusal has been determined, the driver will receive credit toward any ultimate license suspension imposed by the court should guilt for a dui ultimately be determined. In Indiana, for dui convictions, a court can order a driver’s license suspension for a dui for a minimum period of 90 days to a maximum of 5 years depending upon the criminal history of the person being convicted, with what is called “retroactive” credit dated back to the administrative suspension date imposed by the Indiana BMV before guilt has been established. (usually the initial hearing date)
More significantly for the purpose of this discussion, for first time misdemeanor offenders, the court has the authority to grant a “probationary” license which is only good for work, school or probation requirements for those with Indiana licenses who live within the state of Indiana.
Therefore, should a case not be able to be dismissed, and assuming the minimum options are obtained for the client, the first time dui offender in Indiana has the capability of resuming driving after 90 days or obtaining a probationary license which may enable limited driving prior to the expiration of 90 days.
This “probationary” license is one that requires at least 30 days of a straight or complete license suspension to have been served, followed by the 180 day probationary license and can be granted in combination with a criminal plea agreement presented to the criminal court judge.
However, in reality this probationary license cannot halt the continued straight suspension of a license beyond 30 days until your court case has been concluded & the Indiana BMV:
1.) has received and processed the court order for the probationary license,
2.) received proof of sr 22 high risk insurance obtained by the driver and
3.) received payment of reinstatement fee for the issuance of the probationary license.
Unlike the probationary license where credit is only given toward a thirty day straight suspension, and not toward the one hundred eighty day restricted period, with a straight ninety day suspension credit continues to accrue allowing one to get their license back free and clear after 90 days if court ordered. For this reason most people I represent prefer the ninety day straight suspension although initially a probationary license may sound more attractive.
For example, assuming a case has not been dismissed, let’s say that one has suffered from an administrative license suspension begun at an Initial Hearing 50 days prior to the dui case being resolved in court.
Let us next presume that the client has chosen to proceed with an option to allow for a one hundred eighty day probationary license at his or her sentencing hearing. At this stage the individual would have served a straight fifty day license suspension.
Despite the court ordered probationary license, the straight license suspension continues until the court order, insurance paperwork and re instatement fee has been received and processed by the Indiana BMV only upon the case conclusion.
In our example let us assume that it has taken twenty days for the Indiana BMV to receive and process the court’s probationary license order and for the person to provide proof of SR 22 insurance and pay the reinstatement fee to the Bureau. In such a scenario the person will actually have a 70 day straight license suspension imposed followed by a six month probationary license.
There is a difference between what a lawyer can and should do in the client’s best interests. While a client may want a probationary license at all costs, it is the attorney’s obligation to explain the real world application of probationary licenses in Indiana so as to determine whether such a license is most advantageous when considering the above referenced realities.