Two times this past weekend I was asked the question, “Do I need an attorney to help on my OVWI? I just want to plead guilty and get it over with.” My answer both times was “Yes.”
If you are arrested and charged with Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (OVWI) you need an attorney. Why? There are a number of reasons.
First, your driver’s license will forever be affected. Anytime anyone runs a BMV check on your they will see you were convicted of OVWI and specifically the type of OVWI you plead guilty to (Endangering a person, above .08, etc.). While it may be difficult for just anyone to run your criminal history it is relatively easy to obtain a BMV report. Also, pleading guilty to OVWI sets you up for being a Habitual Traffic Violator (HTV). Being determined to be an HTV will seriously affect your license with such things as a 5 year, 10 year or lifetime driving suspension. You should never plead guilty to OVWI without having an experienced attorney review your case and provide you guidance.
Secondly, if you plead guilty to OVWI your license will be suspended. For how long? It depends on your negotiation ability, your driving history and your criminal history. An experienced OVWI attorney can help minimize a license suspension’s affect on your life.
Thirdly, even if you think you are guilty it is still the State of Indiana’s job to prove you guilty. To prove you guilty the State of Indiana has to prove: 1. You operated a vehicle 2. That there was a valid reason for the officer to stop you. 3. That you gave the officer reasonable suspicion to believe you were intoxicated. 4. That you displayed an impairment of a physical / mental condition OR that you blew above the legal blood alcohol limit of .08. If the State cannot prove any of these points then you should not plead guilty to OVWI. An experienced OVWI attorney can help you assess whether or not the State of Indiana can prove you guilty and tell you what to do next.
Fourth, if you have a prior, caused an accident or drove particularly erratic while under the influence, the Prosecutor is likely going to ask the Judge for time executed in jail. This is true even if it is your first OVWI. You need an experienced attorney who knows what to expect when there is the possibility of jail time. More importantly, you need an experienced attorney who can do everything possible to try to eliminate additional jail time from even being a reality.
Lastly, even if your case is truly awful and there is no doubt as to your guilt, you still need someone in your corner watching out for your best interests. You need an attorney making sure the Prosecutor is not trying to force jail time upon you. You need an attorney making sure your license is suspended for the shortest amount of time possible. You need an attorney to make sure your life on probation is not as horrible or as long as the Prosecutor would like to make it.
There are only five of the numerous other reasons why having an experienced OVWI attorney is necessary when you have been charged with OVWI. If you have been arrested and charged with OVWI call Attorney Marc Lopez at (317) 489-9611 or through e-mail.