In the future I anticipate communcating my thoughts as to emerging practical considerations lawyers will need to employ in recognition of new legal statutes within the context of drunk driving prosecutions. Always one of the most pressing matters to thoroughly discuss with clients is inevitably the means by which driving priviliges can be reinstated in the aftermath of an owi arrest and during the course of prosecution.
As has been spoken of elsewhere, by the time of one’s initial hearing following an owi arrest, the accused impaired driver will be facing a pre conviction administrative drivers license suspension by the Indiana BMV. This administrative suspension will either be for 180 days if one has submitted to a breath test or one year if one is alleged to have refused a breath test request of an investigating police officer.
Although for several years the Indiana criminal code has allowed for a judge to impose an ignition interlock device on an accused’s vehicle during the course of a prosecution in lieu of a straight license suspension, practical considerations and divergent county stances have failed to uniformly embrace such pre trial suspension alternatives impacting motorists.
Now with the abolishment of minimum court ordered license suspensions for most owi cases, time will tell whether it is in a client’s advantage to forego pre trial license reinstatement motions and/or hearings in favor of expediently moving for a case resolution where a criminal prosecution is not subject to pre trial dismissal.
Where prior to 2015 a minimum 90 day license suspension for a first time owi offender could be accounted for, post 2015 it will be theoretically possible to legally request for the full reinstatement of a client’s driving priviliges far before a minimum ninety day wait requirement at a dispostion hearing resolving a criminal prosecution.
Strategically, it may therefore prove to be wise to maximize the credit of a full pre trial license suspension by addressing all license suspension orders within a case disposition hearing far before 90 days. In so doing, a client is not placing oneself at the behest of a presiding judge who will later have the power to resuspend the license of one earlier granted ignition interlock or specialized driving priviliges prior to case resolution.
As a result, delay occasioned by pre trial reinstatement requests might outweigh potential benefits of temporary short term driving benefits that defeat the impact of a full administrative license suspension in the eyes of some of the state’s more strident jurists.
I will be assessing the matter closely in the coming months throughout the state in an effort to most completely advise clients as to the best legal strategies by which to secure needed finality in the reinstaement of a drivers license that has been administratively suspended.