Imagine yourself out with a group of friends on a weekend. You’re glad that you don’t have work the following day, and you decide to have a glass of wine or other alcohol beverage with your dinner. Several hours later, you drive home but get pulled over by an Indiana police officer along the way. You know things are not going well when the officer asks you to step out of your car.
Having a single glass of wine with dinner and driving several hours later does not necessarily mean you have operated a motor vehicle unlawfully. It depends on your blood alcohol content [BAC]. If it is under the legal limit, you most likely did not commit a DUI crime. You can choose to decline a request to take preliminary alcohol screenings during a traffic stop. If you’re arrested anyway, you can also refuse a Breathalyzer test but not without significant repercussions.
Administrative License Suspension is active in Indiana
Administrative License Suspension [ALS] is written in Indiana’s law books. The law states that a driver who refuses to take a Breathalyzer test after being arrested on a DUI suspicion will undergo an automatic driver’s license suspension. Keep in mind that this is an administrative, not legal, penalty.
Also, keep in mind that ALS remains active even if you are never charged with a DUI crime. If you are released after being taken into police custody without ever having charges filed against you, you will still be without a driver’s license for six months, starting 11 days after your arrest.
Getting to and from work under an ALS suspension
Being arrested for suspected DUI is stressful as it is. Undergoing a license suspension and not being able to commute to and from the workplace even when you were not charged with a crime makes matters worse. Six months can feel like quite a long time. Indiana law allows you to seek a work permit after the suspension has been active for 30 days if it was the first time you had ever been arrested for DUI.
The trouble doesn’t always end with ALS
During the 10 days leading up to the activation of ALS, you are allowed to request a hearing to challenge your case. If you waive the opportunity to do so, you are at risk for additional administrative restrictions when your license suspension is finally lifted. Such penalties include having to install an ignition interlock system in your vehicle, which is a breath test device attached to the steering column, making it impossible to start your car unless you take and pass the test.
Administrative penalties plus criminal charges
As mentioned earlier, ALS penalties are separate from the potential legal repercussions of a DUI arrest. If you face criminal charges in addition to administrative penalties, not only your job but your personal freedom may be at risk. While being arrested is a stressful experience, you can take comfort in knowing that you can reach out for legal support right from the start, which is the best way to protect your rights and to obtain the most positive outcome possible.