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Indiana DUI Laws

Indiana law prohibits drivers from driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. In order for a police officer to make a lawful stop, the police officer must have a reasonable suspicion that the driver is violating the traffic laws of the state. Once the stop is made, the officer may instruct the driver to exit the car and may ask the driver to perform one or more field sobriety tests. The officer may also request to administer a breathalyzer test or another chemical test. Under the state’s implied consent laws, the driver must comply with any chemical test that is offered. If the driver fails either the chemical test or the field sobriety test, the officer has sufficient probable cause to arrest the driver.

Once the driver is arrested, the driver’s license will be confiscated by the arresting officer. However, this confiscation is not a suspension and the motorist can apply for a provisional license. Commercial drivers are not eligible for commercial licenses. In order for the motorist to have his/her license returned or reinstated, the motorist will have to petition the Bureau of Motor Vehicles for an administrative review hearing. At the hearing, a BMV hearing will receive evidence and testimony from the motorist and the arresting officer and make a determination as to whether the officer followed proper procedure and there was basis for the stop and arrest or whether the stop and arrest were unjustified and the license should be returned.

The administrative review hearing only deals with the suspension of the license, however. If the motorist wants to contest the criminal charge, he will have to take his case to court. Upon arrest, the police officer also issues a ticket which acts as a summons to appear before the court. At the summons the court will set a hearing or trial date. The case will then proceed with both sides conducting discovery, if necessary, prior to the court date.  On the trial date, both the defendant and the prosecution present evidence and make their case before the judge or jury.  If the case is tried before a jury, the jury will reach a verdict.  If the case is tried before a judge, the judge will reach a verdict.  In either case the judge will then hand down a sentence, if the motorist is convicted. The sentence and or verdict may be later appealed.

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