One of the most serious things the Marc Lopez Law Firm deals with on a daily basis is the Habitual Vehicular Substance Offender (HVSO) sentencing enhancement. If charged by the State, the HVSO adds one-to-eight years to your maximum criminal sentence.
For example, if you’re charged with a misdemeanor DUI / OVWI, you’re probably not facing jail time. But if you get a misdemeanor DUI / OVWI, and the State files the HVSO enhancement, you can get anywhere from one-to-eight years in prison.
Likewise, if you’re charged with a Level 6 felony DUI / OVWI plus HVSO, the maximum sentence becomes 10-and-a-half years in prison. The HVSO statute is one of the toughest DUI / OVWI laws that Indiana has on the books.
There are two ways to become eligible for the HVSO filing. The first option is where you’re charged with a DUI / OVWI, you have two prior DUI / OVWI convictions, and at least one of those convictions was within the last 10 years.
Alternatively, if you’re being charged with your fourth DUI / OVWI, it doesn’t matter how long ago your previous convictions were—by the State’s standards, you now qualify as a Habitual Vehicular Substance Offender. Sound confusing? It is.
Bottom line: If you get charged with a DUI / OVWI, and you have two or three prior convictions, you need an attorney with experience. You need an attorney who will contact the prosecutor’s office and let them know you’re taking the case seriously.
You need an attorney who will do everything they possibly can to minimize or eliminate potential jail time. You need an attorney who knows what judges and prosecutors expect of an HVSO-eligible defendant. You need pro-active representation, not a reactive attorney who’s waiting for the other shoe to drop.
If you or a loved one is dealing with DUI / OVWI charges or the Habitual Vehicular Substance Offender sentencing enhancement, call the Marc Lopez Law Firm at 317-632-3642, and remember—always plead the 5th!