Should I Refuse to Take a Test If I’m Accused of Driving Drunk?

What Happens After Your First DUI?

October 8th, 2020 by CLLB Law

All DUIs are serious, but courts often treat your first DUI differently than they do repeat DUI offenses.  Any DUI should be a wake-up call to a driver.  It’s time to ask yourself if you have a problem with alcohol, or if you simply made a poor decision to get behind the wheel after a dinner party or professional gathering where you had one too many beers or glasses of wine.

If you’re wondering what happens after your first DUI, read on to find valuable information.  Knowing your responsibilities and rights after you’ve been charged with a DUI will help you make proactive decisions that are in your own best interest.

Most importantly, you should be represented by a proven and experienced DUI lawyer who can work skillfully to try to get the charges reduced or at least achieve the most favorable outcome possible.  If you’re charged with a DUI, hire an attorney quickly.  To find out more about how Church, Langdon, Lopp, Banet Law in New Albany, IN, can help, call us for an initial consultation at 812-725-8224.

How serious is your first DUI?

All DUIs are serious. 

However, you will likely be treated with greater leniency by the court if it is your first DUI rather than, say, your third.  The exception to this is if a person was killed or seriously injured due to a drunk driving accident or if you had a minor passenger in the vehicle with you.  In these instances, courts come down hard on any drunk driver, even if it is their first DUI offense.

In Indiana, DUI is also referred to as OWI (operating while intoxicated).  It is typically a class C or A misdemeanor.  If you are convicted of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, this is what you could face:

First Offense

  • You will have to pay court costs and fees in excess of $300. 
  • You may receive a jail sentence of up to one year
  • You could be fined up to $5,000
  • Your license may be suspended for up to two (2) years, or 
  • You may be placed on probation and be required to enroll in, and pay for, a substance abuse education course. Your license may also be suspended for a minimum of 30 days followed by a 180-day probationary period in which you can drive only for employment purposes. 
  • You may be required to attend a victim impact panel. 
  • You may be required to submit to urine testing for drugs and alcohol. 
  • You may also face other terms of probation.

There are ENHANCED PENALTIES under certain circumstances.  These include:

  1. DUI/OWI with a passenger under the age of 18 (Class D Felony)
  2. DUI/OWI causing bodily injury to another person (Class D Felony)
  3. DUI/OWI causing death to another person (Class C Felony)
  4. DUI/OWI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15% or greater (Class A Misdemeanor)

Again, your first DUI is serious, and the penalties above show that courts will not let a driver off the hook just because it is their first drunk driving offense.  Fines and years in prison increase substantially for habitual offenders.

What do you do after your first DUI?

According to Indiana law, this is the process you will face if you are arrested for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated:

  1. You will be handcuffed and taken to the police station.
  2. Your car and your person will be searched.
  3. Your car will be towed at your expense.
  4. You will be asked to take a certified breath test. If you refuse, your license will automatically be suspended for one year.(Implied consent law IC 9-30-6-1) 
  5. If you take a breath test and it shows that your blood alcohol content is .08% or higher, your driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of 30 days.
  6. To be released from jail, bail will have to be posted.

It is important that you not resist arrest or act belligerently toward a law enforcement officer.  Politely allow yourself to be taken into custody; do not try to make excuses for your actions; answer questions succinctly but otherwise say as little as possible; and ask for your legal right to speak to an attorney.

What qualifies as a DUI in Indiana?

The maximum legal BAC limits in Indiana while driving a vehicle include:

  • ADULT DRIVERS – BAC LIMIT = 0.08%
  • DRIVERS UNDER 21 – BAC LIMIT = 0.01%
  • COMMERCIAL DRIVERS – BAC LIMIT = 0.04%

The BAC limits are different for different drivers for important reasons.  Obviously, a lower BAC among minor drivers is enforced because the legal drinking age is 21, and no one under that age should be served alcohol.  Commercial drivers face enforcement of a lower BAC because big rig trucks and large commercial vehicles can be deadly when they are driven erratically by a drunk driver.

Call an Indiana DUI attorney today

If you’ve been arrested after your first DUI, calling a skilled and experienced DUI attorney should be your first priority.  The sooner you hire a lawyer, the sooner your attorney can protect you.  It’s important to say as little as possible after being taken into custody for drunk driving.  Be polite and cooperative, but do not acknowledge guilt.  Your lawyer can communicate on your behalf and advise you about what to say and what not to say.  The lawyers at CLLB are both compassionate with first-time DUI clients and also straight-talking.  We will not sugar-coat the penalties you may be facing.  To find out more about how we can help achieve the best possible outcome in your case, call us at 812-725-8224 for an initial consultation.