License Suspension Procedure
It is not enough to know the length of time a drivers license can be suspended in Indiana. What is equally important to know is when the license will be suspended and how to maximize the ability to get a client’s license back with as much credit time as possible.
In Indiana once probable cause has been found by a judge that an individual has failed a breath test for intoxication, a recommendation will be sent to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) to suspend the license of the person charged. While this judicial determination usually takes place at the person’s Initial Hearing where one is formally advised of the charges, the license suspension may be imposed prior to the initial hearing through mailed notice from the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
The important point to know is that if charged with DUI in Indiana your license will be suspended while your criminal cases is ongoing. The drivers license at this stage is not being imposed due to a conviction for dui but for probable cause being determined that the individual charged failed a breath test for intoxication or refused to submit to a breath test for intoxication.
If one has submitted to a breath test and tested above the legal limit of .08 BAC any pre trial license suspension imposed by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles will be credited toward any court ordered suspension later imposed. For example, if a dui case results in a conviction with a court ordered ninety day license suspension and sixty days of a pre trial license suspension has been served prior to the criminal case conclusion, thirty days would be left on the suspension before eligibility for reinstatement should “retroactive” credit be given.
These calculations can become vitally important when assessing whether eligibility for specialized driving privileges are something that makes sense to the client. One subject to a dui license suspension in Indiana may be eligible for such a specialized license for one hundred eighty days while a case is pending or through court order following case resolution. This form of license would generally allow one to drive for probation requirements, employment or school purposes and for any other purpose a court will allow. While in theory the ability to get one’s license back in some capacity prior to a case conclusion may sound advantageous, this is not usually the case.
On too many occasions I have taken the frustrated calls of people who were mislead as to how the issuance of such a license would be administered to their detriment. Too frequently, lawyers may not know or take the time to explain the logistics of the credit time issue to a client in their care.
Here is a hypothetical to explain: Let us assume that the individual has qualified for a specialized license following a first offense and has the dui prosecution concluded by negotiated agreement after sixty days. By agreement let us assume that the court has opted to suspend the license for the customary minimum time period of ninety days. At this stage the individual already has accumulated sixty days credit toward a ninety day minimum suspension.
If a specialized license has been agreed to, the individual in reality will suffer a minimum 180 day suspension in some capacity (at least) without necessarily optimizing credit toward full license reinstatement before a presiding judge. Unless the chance to drive in any capacity justifies a specialized restricted license for at least 180 days (and the possibility of additional court ordered suspension upon case resolution), depending upon the court, most people may be best served to maximize credit of their straight suspension with credit time toward full reinstatement far sooner upon a case conclusion.
However, unlike the above referenced hypothetical if a judicial officer has found probable cause to determine that an individual refused a breath test within one’s initial hearing, no credit will be given for any pre trial suspension of license toward any ultimate court ordered suspension and is not otherwise eligible for a specialized license option.
Notice from the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles will usually state in the mail that one is under an administrative license suspension of one hundred eighty (180) days soon after probable cause for the dui charges have been determined or one year in the event of a breath test refusal. However, this term of administrative suspension period is likely to change once the criminal case has been concluded. More significantly, on this notice the date credit will potentially be given toward any ultimate license suspension will be documented by the start date shown within the notice.
Please know that if one has not received the notice from the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles by mail, the individual should still consider themselves suspended from driving if so ordered by the court.
There are no ill informed questions when trying to understand the process of a dui license suspension in Indiana. Please feel free to call me at anytime so that I can discuss how to best help you be in position to get your license back as soon as possible.