One of the most difficult aspects of law to explain to a client is the discrepancy as to options made available to those facing first time dui prosecutions within the state of Indiana.
As a first prong of attack, a capable dui defense lawyer will always explore any potential means by which a case can be dismissed outright on behalf of a client in need. Such investigative angles to be explored revolve around motions to suppress based upon faulty breath testing, field sobriety testing, lack of probable cause, etc.
What next if through the means of pre trial investigation a dui case in Indiana cannot be dismissed without incurring the risk and financial costs associated with taking a case to trial? Can a dismissal be obtained by other means?
In my capacity as a dui lawyer in a multitude of locations throughout the state, an often beneficial way to secure a dismissal without resorting to the risk of litigation and an adverse verdict centers on the concept of a “witheld prosecution.”
Witheld prosecutions have been called by many different terms. Sometimes referred to as “Countermeasures,” in some counties “Title 12,” or in others simply, “Agreement to Withold Prosecution,” all are the same means by which dismissals may be obtained in some counties for first time dui offenders. Produced as a result of pro active negotiation between a defense attorney and prosecutor, the advantage of such agreements is that although a license suspension will still be incurred, upon satisfaction of certain requirements such as potential community service, alcohol evaluation, no further arrests, etc, a dui case can be dismissed.
In other words, the prosecution is “witheld” or not prosecuted to conviction provided that the proscribed terms negotiated are completed successfully by the time of a scheduled ”compliance” date generally set with the court. Should the terms not be satisfied by the compliance date the conviction for the dui would be entered against the individual barring an extension of time within which to complete the obligations of the original agreement.
In years past such agreements were more widespread in some form or another. In counties that did not typically utilize witheld prosecutions it was not uncommon for cases to be reduced to “Reckless Driving” offenses for first time dui prosecutions in lieu of dismissal through a deferral agreement.
In today’s world with the intervention of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and other political forces and news events dramatizing the impact of drunk driving, the political realities are such that alternative options of dismissal are not as favored as long ago. Although there are still some counties that are willing to utilize agreements to withold prosecution or reduce first time dui offenses to a reckless driving, such counties I fear are dwindling with each year.
In many instances such options may remain viable in dui cases that the prosecution might have a hard time making. However, in such circumstances I will usually not recommend my clients taking a plea deal to anything if a case is weak enough for a prosecutor to offer such an agreement in place of no conviction at all.
Criminal laws or laws in general for that matter are often dependant in application on the community empowered to bring the criminal prosecution. Unfortunately, in the case of drunk driving, where one travels to or through will often dictate the pre trial options that your lawyer will be in position to maximize to your advantage.
Whether right or wrong although there may be a uniformity of what dui laws are within the state of Indiana, how these laws are applied is not only reliant on the skill of your owi attorney in Indiana but also the venue the prosecution will be defended in. Please keep these realities in mind before potential confusion sets in as to the potential for unequal treatment of first time dui prosecutions in Indiana.