As interpretation of new laws related to impaired driving unfold within Indiana, components governing how to best maximize administrative license suspension credit are critical to an understanding of how to best secure license reinstatement privileges at the earliest opportunity possible for one enduring an impaired driving prosecution.
For the sake of discussion within this blog posting I have chosen to focus upon the topic of understanding new legislative laws and how to best initiate retroactive license suspension credit in those jurisdictions that seek to deny such credit in the wake of newly enacted Indiana legislative provisions.
Prior to January 1 of this year, proper legal practice in regard to license credit following impaired driving convictions necessitated that terms within any agreement include that credit would be given for any suspension undertaken prior to an ultimate disposition of a client’s case. In other words by inserting within any negotiated agreement that a client would be given credit for any license suspension imposed by the bureau of motor vehicles while an impaired driving case was ongoing, a client’s rights could be safeguarded so as to insure that any pre conviction license suspension imposed would count toward any ultimate license suspension ordered by a court following a conviction; provided no allegation of a refusal to submit to a chemical breath test was alleged.
However, with the passing of new legislation this year, attorneys responsible for handling dui cases must be versed as to new potential traps existing that could otherwise deprive clients of pre conviction license suspension credit that such individuals may otherwise be entitled to.
Such potential traps for those lawyers not up to speed as to the latest development in impaired driving law include a new policy as to retroactive credit allowances. For the time being, whether specifically intended or otherwise neglected by the Indiana state legislature, retroactive credit allowance provisions for adminstrative license suspensions within owi cases has not been accounted for within appplicable state legislative statutes.
The significance of such an omission is the reality that attorneys who are not otherwise made aware of such new standards are at risk of depriving their clients the ability to get full credit acknowledged for license suspensions imposed by the bureau of motor vehicles within Indiana prior to any ultimate adjudication resulting in a court ordered impaired driving license suspension following a conviciton.
As a result, it is absolutely incumbent upon all legal counsel responsible for handling impaired driving prosecutions to understand these new legislative realities as they relate to apportioning credit time within any negotiated settlement agreement contemplated.
At the present time, certain courts are still granting retroactive credit allowances for cases filed before January 1 , 2015, whereas others are not. In court jurisdictions not allowing for retroactive credit irrespective of whether a case filing was initiated prior to January 1, I have found it best to allow for a reduction in the amount of administrative credit time to be reflected within a negotiated calculation of agreed license suspension specified within a written bargained for disposition agreement.
For example, within a first offense negotiation prior to this year where a retroactive credit provision would need to be inserted within a settlement agreement, now in jurisdictions presently denying retroactive credit based upon interpretation of new legislative law it is essential that a reduction in license suspension duration be inserted within an agreement based upon the length of administrative suspension time accrued prior to the court date resolving a case prosecution.
In such circumstances for one dealing with a first offense conviction for impaired driving, a former minimum 90 day license suspension must therefore be reduced in an amount reflecting administrative credit time earned prior to a settlement agreement has been accepted by a designated court.
Therefore where terminology would have formerly stated a minimum 90 day license suspension retroactive to date of adminsistrative suspension by the bureau of motor vehiceles in Indiana where eligible for a former first offense, attorneys must now be vigilant to ensure that a settlement agreement specifies less than an presumptive license suspension duration within a specific court that accounts for a contracted for reduction based upon administrative credit time earned up to, and including, the date of court ordered resolution.