As I had anticipated within former posts on the subject, Indiana’s new legislative alterations to the criminal code as pertaining to owi license reinstatements has been a hodgepodge of varying interpretations throughout the state. Adding to the confusion is the bureau of motor vehicles’s own in house legal interpretations of present state statutes in regard to whether to honor differing judicial orders coming from different corners of the state all seeking to comply with the ambiguity of present legal dictates.
The focus of ire among many of the state’s jurists I have conversed with has centered upon “Specialized Driving Privileges,” and how to fully comply with legislative intent in regard to issuing such licenses.
Following a dui arrest, many lawyers expressed reasoned optimism that draconian laws allowing for administrative license suspensions issued before a finding of guilt could be somewhat tempered by the potential relief afforded by these “specialized” limited license reinstatements. It was hoped that such judicial relief could provide needed assistance to those seeking to preserve employment, child care responsibilities, etc. while challenging legal accusations against them.
Unfortunately, depending upon the judicial venue one finds oneself in, such license relief has either been interpreted as inapplicable to pending owi cases or has compelled lawyers to file such license requests through civil case filings that mandate close to a month delay so as to allow for a prosecutorial response. Thereafter, further delay has often been occasioned by congested court calenders that have not allowed for a judicial determination for such a request until weeks have passed and irreparable harm has already been done to one’s career and/or livelihood.
Further, by mandating that such a license be restricted in some fashion for six months irrespective of circumstances and left to the whim of a given judge, the worthiness of such a license has often been called into question. For example, a salesman who must travel the state at different hours and locations will often encounter irrational resistance to a specialized license that in any way deviates from an order that will only allow for driving a strict and certain route to and from a given place of employment on certain specified times and days of the week.
As if this is reality has not been arbitrary enough, the specified allowance for ignition interlock devices to accompany the granting of such restricted license reinstatements has further randomly subjected people arrested within certain jurisdictions to suffer the full financial penalty and career impediments of having such a device installed within one’s vehicle irrespective of a claim of innocence during the pendency of legal proceedings.
Lastly, the present legal statutes actually require for a judicial order granting specialized licenses to be possessed and carried within one’s vehicle, but not necessarily forwarded for processing by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The implications of such a present scheme would be comical if not so serious for those potentially subjected to a criminal arrest for driving on a suspended license as designated by the bureau, only to compel one who has been granted possession of a specialized license order to protest his or her innocence as the matter of one’s judicial sanction to operate a vehicle is sorted out.
It is my own personal belief that it was the Indiana state legislature’s reasoned intention to confront a need not formerly provided for in the law to provide an avenue of license availability to those charged with a dui who seek to preserve economic relief to those who depend upon them. However, the present state of owi laws in Indiana has been written in such a way as to open the door to those jurists who seek to use present laws to punish through the use of expanded use of ignition interlocks or to deny such relief to those facing an administrative suspension for a pending owi altogether.
More to the point, the present state of the laws as to the issuance of specialized licenses require that in return for the limited granting of driving rights in a manner at the sole discretion of a given judge, the individual in question may very well be compelled to agree to restrictions on one’s license for at least double the time they would have otherwise have been subject to had the request for such restricted license never been made at all.
Until present laws have been clarified in such a way as to be applied uniformly throughout the state and in a manner that makes sense to dui offenders, I simply cannot often recommend the utilization of such legal avenues that may serve to provide attorneys with more work and financial gain, but in the end are contrary to the best interests of a client seeking for the full reinstatement of driving privileges as soon as possible.