How Does DUI Defense Work in Indiana?

Criminal Defense
How Does DUI Defense Work in Indiana?

December 30, 2021

DUI is the crime of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is considered a crime, unlike most traffic violations, and the penalties for this crime escalate rapidly depending on injuries or property damage caused by the impaired driver. Nonetheless, the law affords defendants the opportunity to challenge the state’s case. The following are some of the most successful DUI defenses we can employ in a DUI defense case.

Understanding Per Se DUI

Per se DUI means you are automatically guilty if the prosecution can establish that your BAC was above .08 at the time of your arrest. In other words, they need not prove anything else beyond your chemical test. However, chemical tests are not 100% accurate. Furthermore, they need to be administered properly to qualify as per se proof. In those cases, it may be possible to get the chemical tests excluded. This would force the prosecution to prove their case without the aid of laws that make it easier for them to try DUI cases. In other words, instead of proving your BAC is above .08, they can prove other elements of the crime, like you were not operating your vehicle safely. 

What Happens When the Prosecution Cannot Prove a Per Se DUI?

If your lawyer can successfully raise a question as to whether or not the chemical tests, field sobriety tests, or other tests are accurate, the prosecution would be forced into the position of proving that you were intoxicated by using information gleaned from the scene of the incident. As an example, most folks are not pulled over for DUI if they are operating their vehicle properly (more on this later). The prosecutor must then introduce evidence that you were operating your vehicle unsafely and that gave them probable cause to initiate the stop.

What if There Was No Reason to Stop You?

This is where it gets a little tricky. A police officer on patrol can stop and detain a vehicle only with probable cause. That means a driver who is operating their vehicle safely (even under the influence) could not be stopped by the police without cause. On the other hand, if the police set up a DUI checkpoint, you can be pulled over and charged with DUI since the police do not need probable cause to set up a checkpoint, and they are pulling everyone over indiscriminately.

The Bottom Line

Your attorney will first attempt to get the chemical tests thrown out, and if that does not work, we can sometimes raise doubts in the mind of the jury as to the quality of chemical tests run by police officers. At that point, the prosecution would be forced to prove that the patrol officer had a good reason for pulling you over, and if they did not, then the prosecution cannot prove the stop was legal or that you were under the influence at the time of the accident. 

Essentially, the job of your attorney is to overcome the per se restrictions that make it easy to convict allegedly drunk drivers using chemical tests. Call The Bellinger Law Office today to learn more about how we can help. 

Guidance for Families


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Robert H. Bellinger



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