Nearly 90 percent of Americans over the age of 16 have a driver’s license.
Yet, every year, thousands of drivers in the U.S. take to the roads without a valid license. Their reasons for driving illegally are varied.
Some simply forgot to renew their license while others have had their license revoked as a result of accidents or other incidents. Then there are those that have never had a license in the first place.
No matter the reason, realizing that you’re about to get pulled over or causing an accident on the road and knowing that you don’t have a valid drivers license is never a good experience.
If you have been caught driving without a license in Indiana, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the consequences and what you can do about them.
Driving with an Expired License or Without License in Possession
It could happen to anyone. You forget that your license has expired until the officer asks for you to hand it to them. Or you realize that you left your entire wallet, and with it, your driver’s license, at home just as soon as those blue lights start flashing in your rearview mirror.
If you are caught driving with an expired license or if you have a valid license but it is not in your possession, you will face fines of up to $500.
However, if you can present a valid driver’s license at the police station within the city or county where you were charged within 5 days, you can get these fines and the charges dropped. This way, nothing will appear on your record.
Driving with License Suspended in Indiana
Drivers can get their license suspended for a number of different reasons. There are actually two different types of suspended driver’s licenses.
Definite License Suspension
With a definite suspension, your license is suspended for a set amount of time. After that time period is up, you must then pay your suspension termination fee, and then you will be able to earn your license.
If you fail to do any of these things, or if you receive another criminal charge while your license is under a definite suspension, your suspension may be extended. It may also become an indefinite suspension.
There are several incidents that can lead to a definite license suspension.
You could get arrested for DUI or OWI. You could get caught driving without liability insurance, or cause an accident and get caught for not having this insurance.
Even receiving too many traffic tickets, including speeding tickets, reckless operation tickets, running red lights, and more can lead to definite license suspension.
Indefinite License Suspension
With an indefinite suspension, your license is suspended until you complete an assigned action. This action could be anything from paying traffic tickets to completing a state-mandated course.
Once you have completed your assigned action, you receive your license back right away. There is no set length of suspension as there is with a definite suspension.
In some states, including Indiana, if a person has not paid child support, the courts may suspend their license. In this case, it is an indefinite suspension. When the child support is paid, the license suspension will then be dropped.
A license may also receive an indefinite suspension if the holder suffers from a medical condition that renders them unfit to drive. If the medical condition is cured or otherwise managed so that the person may safely drive again, the suspension may be lifted.
Unlike a definite or indefinite suspension, if a license has been revoked, it cannot be reinstated.
A license may be revoked after a driver is charged with a DUI, vehicular homicide, or even too many traffic violations.
The only way that a person with a revoked license can obtain a license again is if they apply for approval through the state’s DMV, pay any necessary penalties, and take their driver’s test all over again. Depending on the original offense, the state DMV may not approve the driver’s application for a new license.
Getting Caught Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License
Getting caught driving with a suspended or revoked license is far more serious than getting caught with an expired drivers license.
Your punishment will depend on the reasons why your license was suspended, to begin with.
If your license was suspended following a DUI, you will face up to one year in jail and fines up to $5,000. If your license was under and an indefinite suspension for failure to pay traffic tickets or child support, you will face a fine of up to $10,000. If this is your second offense, you may also face jail time.
If you cause an accident while driving with a suspended or revoked license, and someone is injured, you will be charged with a class 5 or 6 felonies and will face jail time and hefty fines.
The DMV may also choose to extend your suspension.
What Happens if You Have Never Had a License
If you have never had a driver’s license and are caught or cause an accident, you may be charged with a class C misdemeanor.
This means that you could face up to 60 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500.
However, if you are caught driving without a license again, the punishments become much more severe.
If you are caught a third time, you will be charged with a class A misdemeanor. This means that you could spend up to one year in jail, as well as fines of up to $5,000.
What Can You Do if You are Caught Driving Without a License
If you are caught driving without a license in the state of Indiana or anywhere else, you could be facing misdemeanor charges, fines, a longer suspension, and even jail time.
The best thing you can do is to make sure that you are never driving without a license.
But if you have already been caught and charged, there may still be hope. Contact us today to see what course of action we can take against your charges.
Year after year, Indiana ranks above the national average for accidents caused by intoxicated drivers. If you don’t know the drunk driving laws that impact driving and drinking in Indiana, you need to get informed.
Driving under the influence is a dangerous affair and more catastrophic for Indiana drivers who survive drunk driving than anywhere else. Here is everything you need to know.
When Indiana Considers You Drunk
Every state has its own limits for when they consider a driver drunk. Because millions of people live on or near state borders, it’s vital to know what the laws are before you cross state lines for a night out. Plenty of people go from one state where their behavior is protected by law into another state where their choices result in jail time.
If you’re a non-commercial driver over the age of 21, you’re considered drunk at a different level than commercial drivers. That’s because commercial drivers are expected to maintain a higher standard of safety than the average person on the road. Non-commercial drivers with a blood alcohol level of .08 or more are considered drunk.
If you’re a cab driver, truck driver, or getting paid to drive for any reason, your blood alcohol limits are much lower. At .04 percent or more, you’re considered drunk in Indiana. This level can be attained with as little as one beer, so if you’re driving for a living, take care.
If you’re a driver under 21, below the nation’s legal drinking age, exercise more care. While you shouldn’t be drinking at all, you certainly shouldn’t be behind the wheel. At a blood alcohol level of .02 percent or more, you’re considered to be drunk driving.
Some Common Penalties
If this is the first time you’ve been found drunk driving, the law is still harsh on you. But, your penalty may be as light as 90 days without your license. Some suspensions in more egregious situations result in two years of license suspension.
Previous convictions within 5-10 of one another lead to a minimum suspension of six months to two years. If you have just one previous conviction, expect to end up imprisoned. Depending on your hearing with a judge, you’ll end up with five days of prison time or more.
Either in addition to or instead of jail time, expect dozens of hours of community service. These are often followed by alcohol treatment or therapy programs. Since drunk driving is dangerous to both the driver and other motorists, it’s considered worth rehabilitation for this reckless behavior.
If this is a chronic issue and you’ve accrued two previous DUI convictions, expect a minimum of 10 days locked up or hundreds of hours of community service. When this problem appears to the authorities as a problem, they don’t want to risk having you on the road. Expect your license to be suspended for a year or more.
If you’ve ranked between .02 and .08 blood alcohol percentage while under the age of 21, your license is going to be suspended for a year. There’s often a fine attached, in the $500 range. Blowing a number higher than .08 means your penalties will match anyone who is 21+, resulting in jail time and community service.
In Indiana, technology has taken DUI penalties to the next level. There is now technology to limit your ability to drive if you’ve been found to have problems with drinking and driving.
Judges now have the ability to demand drivers install ignition interlock technology into a driver’s car. This expensive technology, typically paid for at the driver’s expense, limits a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle if they’ve been drinking. This technology interrupts an ignition by adding breath alcohol technology in between the key and the ignition.
If this equipment is tampered with, it often results in penalties for the driver. If there’s a conviction in the past ten years between the last DUI and the latest one, judges must order this system. The alternative is the driver goes through an alcohol treatment program.
If you don’t have the time to go to a program or have a bad history of drinking and driving, you’ll be subject to this technology.
Commercial Drivers Beware
As listed above, commercial drivers in Indiana face lower limits to how much alcohol is considered dangerous for driving. Violating these limits results in penalties impacting your ability to make a living.
The penalties above apply to drivers of commercial vehicles. The additional penalty is that a commercial driver convicted of a DUI driving any vehicle is then disqualified from operating any commercial vehicle. This year-long suspension is a serious hiccup to any commercial driver’s career.
If the driver was transporting hazardous materials at the time of the DUI, this disqualification turns into a three-year ban. Two DUIs for any commercial driver results in a lifelong ban from operating a commercial vehicle.
Get To Know Dram Shop Law
If you run a bar or anywhere someone can buy a drink, you could be held liable for selling to a drunk person. If someone drinks at your establishment and then ends up in an accident, you’re suddenly in the mix.
This liability also extends to anyone who gives alcohol to a minor if you’re aware they’re underage.
Drunk Driving Is Always a Bad Choice
When you make the choice to drink, you need to make the choice to avoid drunk driving. While it might seem more convenient at times, it’s too dangerous to risk. Even if you think you’ll be okay, with these penalties in mind, it’s just too expensive to try.
If your license has recently been suspended, call us today for help.
You’ve had a great night out with friends and you’re heading home. You’ve had a little to drink, but you feel fine and decide that it’s safe enough to drive.
When you’re on the road you notice the dreaded blue and red lights in your rearview mirror. Once you hear the siren, you know you’re in for a bad night.
You aren’t the only person that’s experienced the stress of a DUI arrest, and you won’t be the last. It’s estimated that over 1 million people were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A DUI charge isn’t ideal, but it doesn’t have to ruin your life. If you want to avoid the harshes repercussions associated with a DUI charge, follow the advice in this post.
You may have had one beer and don’t think you’ll get a DUI arrest. You could be far over the legal limit and be looking at a serious DUI charge.
Regardless of how intoxicated you believe you are or how worried you are about the police, you need to pull over as soon as you notice that an officer of the law is asking you to.
A DUI charge can be troublesome, but it’s nowhere near as bad as the charges you’d acquire for evading the police. Evading arrest in a vehicle isn’t just a bad idea, it’s also a very dangerous one that puts you and other drivers at risk.
Start making an effort to pull over as soon as you notice the police officer. Turn on your signal to indicate where you’ll be stopping, then pull over to a safe place as soon as you can.
Stay Still In Your Vehicle
Once you’ve pulled over to a safe spot, keep your hands on the wheel where the officer can see them and calmly wait for them to approach your car.
This is not the time to make any sudden movements. Don’t attempt to meet the police officer outside, don’t even go inside your glove compartment to get your registration or proof of insurance.
Reaching over to get papers can easily look like you’re trying to hide evidence, or could even be reaching for a weapon.
Police officers have to keep themselves safe on the job, and they could see these small movements as threats. This is why it’s always best to stay still and wait for the officer to come to you.
You may be annoyed that you’re being pulled over, or you may want to immediately plead your case to the police officers.
Emotions can run high when you’re pulled over, but now isn’t the time to express them. When you’re pulled over by a police officer, the only thing you should be is polite and accommodating.
Give them a courteous greeting when they approach you. Stay calm, and be ready to follow their directions.
Take the Breathalyzer
There’s a lot of misinformation about what you can and can’t do when you’re pulled over by a cop.
Some people falsely believe that you can refuse a breathalyzer and save yourself from charges, but the consequences of refusing can be just as bad, if not worse, than a DUI charge.
Any experienced attorney in Indiana will tell you to take a sobriety test. Indiana has an “implied consent” law around sobriety tests. If you have a driver’s license, you’ve already consented to take a test.
In the event that you’re arrested for drunk driving, you’ve given your implied agreement to submit to a chemical test. These tests can be an analysis of your breath, urine, or even your blood.
The law also states people that refuse a chemical intoxication test will have their licenses suspended for one year. If you have a previous DUI or OWI charge, that gets bumped up to two years.
It’s also important to note that refusing to take a chemical impairment test can’t save you from charges. You can still be arrested and charged without being tested.
As you can see, refusing to get tested can’t save you from charges. It’s always better to go along with whatever test you’re being given.
You shouldn’t refuse to take any chemical impairment tests, but it’s still okay to remain silent when you’re being questioned once you’re pulled over.
When you’re pulled over, a police officer is looking for signs of impairment. Slurred speech, stumbling over your words, or even having a wavering voice could all be seen as signs of intoxication.
Don’t think that being honest and telling the officer that you’ve had a drink or two will help you.
A police officer most likely won’t believe that you’ve just had “a few”, and in some cases that would be enough for them to assume that you’re driving under the influence.
If you’re asked any questions about drinking, it’s okay to politely decline to answer any questions on the matter. That can include questions about where you were and who you were with.
Ask For Legal Representation
If you’re arrested, you still have every right to an attorney. When you arrive at the station, say that you’d like to speak with an attorney before you answer any questions.
The officer is required to provide you with a telephone, telephone book and the number of the on-call public defender. You can feel free to contact your own attorney or ask to speak to the on-call public defender.
Also be sure to ask to speak to an attorney alone. Police officers are required to let you speak with legal representation, but they may not let you speak to them alone unless you request it.
Be Wary Of Paper Work
When you’re at the police station, the only thing you should sign is the form for the Driver’s Hearing Request and the ticket for DUI.
Signing the ticket is not an admission of guilt, neither is the request for the hearing. View it as a promise to appear in court.
Anything else they want you to sign should be looked at by your lawyer. You don’t want to sign anything that could harm your case or be seen as an admission of guilt.
Get Help For A DUI Arrest
A DUI arrest can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to ruin your life. If you have the right legal representation you can fight charges, improve your record, and get your life back in order.
If you need DUI lawyers, we’re here to help. Be sure to contact us today so we can start working on your case.