If you’re charged with DUI / OVWI in Indiana, the State doesn’t wait until you’ve been convicted to suspend your driving privileges. Assuming that you consented to a certified chemical test, and those results showed you with an alcohol concentration equivalent of 0.08* or greater, the BMV is going to suspend your license for 180 days.

No Certified Chemical Test Results

If the police took blood (and not breath) for purposes of a certified chemical test, the lab analysis usually takes several weeks to complete. This means at the start of your case, the State won’t yet have the evidence it will be using to try and convict you.

Some courts will suspend you immediately, even if they don’t have blood results back. The majority of judges, however, wait on the test results to impose the suspension. Regardless of what form the chemical test took, the administrative suspension will be for 180 days.

Refusal of a Certified Chemical Test

If the police offered you a certified chemical test and you refused, that’s a different story. If you’ve never been in trouble before, a chemical test refusal will earn you a one-year license suspension. If you have any prior DUI / OVWIs on your record—even from decades ago—a chemical test refusal will result in a two-year license suspension.

A refusal suspension is bad news. Not only is it excessive in length, but the only way to get rid of it is to get the State to agree to terminate it. A refusal suspension makes you ineligible for Specialized Driving Privileges, and any criminal suspension cannot begin until the refusal suspension is complete.

Criminal License Suspensions

If you’re convicted of DUI / OVWI, the maximum license suspension is equal to the maximum period of incarceration for the criminal charge. A Class A misdemeanor, for example, carries a maximum incarceration penalty of 365 days in jail. Therefore, 365 days is the maximum license suspension for a Class A misdemeanor conviction.

Let’s take a more serious example and imagine a repeat DUI / OVWI offender who refused a chemical test and was charged with a Level 6 felony. A refusal with a prior is a two-year suspension and remember—the criminal suspension must run consecutive to the refusal suspension. If the State won’t agree to terminate the refusal, the defendant will be facing a two-year suspension for the refusal, followed by the criminal suspension, which in this case could be as many as two-and-a-half years.

Minimum License Suspensions

For first-time offenders, there’s no minimum required license suspension as a part of criminal sentencing. If you have a prior DUI / OVWI conviction, however, the court is required by law to suspend your driving privileges for at least one year. The good news—if you can call it that—is that your suspension at the beginning of the case counts toward your suspension at the end.

Let’s say you spent 100 days suspended while your case ran its course. Most cases don’t get resolved this quickly but we’re using easily understandable numbers to make the example more accessible. So after 100 days with a suspended license, you’re convicted, and the sentence includes a 365-day license suspension. This will actually be a 265-day suspension, because you get credit for the first 100 days.

Specialized Driving Privileges

Most of our clients have jobs, and most people with jobs need to drive. That’s why the Marc Lopez Law Firm makes a point of prioritizing Specialized Driving Privileges whenever they’re available. Many judges are willing to allow a DUI / OVWI defendant to drive for life’s necessities while their criminal case is pending. If you’re facing DUI / OVWI charges, it’s important to hire an attorney who’s familiar with the county or court you’ve been charged in.

Make the Right Call

The attorneys at the Marc Lopez Law Firm fight DUI / OVWI charges every day. They’ve seen short suspensions, and they’ve seen suspensions that can last a lifetime. If you or someone you love is stuck with a  suspended license, call the Marc Lopez Law Firm at 317-632-3642 and remember—always plead the 5th!

* grams of ethanol per 100 milliliters of blood or 210 liters of breath