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OWI / DUI Representing People From All Walks of Life

Fort Wayne DUI Lawyers

Defending Against Drunk Driving Charges in Allen County, IN

Are you facing an OWI charge? Get the legal representation you need by reaching out to our Fort Wayne DUI attorneys at Arnold Terrill Ridenour, P.C. as soon as possible. We have over 75 years of combined experience and know how to handle complex cases. We recognize that people can drive poorly for other reasons besides being drunk, such as being fatigued. We are also aware that chemical analysis machines can have flaws or malfunctions, causing them to produce inaccurate results.

Knowing that several factors can lead to an OWI arrest, we dive deep into the facts of the case, reviewing reports, logs, and other pieces of evidence to build the strongest defense possible.

To discuss your case with our DUI lawyers in Fort Wayne, contact us at (888) 912-7220. We offer a complimentary case evaluation.

What Is Indiana's DUI Law?

In Indiana, there are two ways a person can be accused of driving while intoxicated.

Under IC 9-30-5-1, the first way charges can arise is if the driver was operating a vehicle with:

  • A blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 or higher but less than .15;
  • A blood or breath alcohol concentration of .15 or higher; or
  • A controlled substance in their blood.

Under IC 9-30-5-2, the other way a person can violate the state's drunk driving laws is if they operate a vehicle while intoxicated.

According to IC 9-13-2-86, a person is intoxicated if they are under the influence of:

  • Alcohol,
  • Drugs,
  • A toxic substance or nitrous oxide,
  • Any combination of the above-listed substances, or
  • Any other substance that impairs their cognitive or motor abilities and causes them to lose control of their normal faculties.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your OWI arrest, our Fort Wayne DUI attorneys are ready to provide the aggressive defense you need to fight your charge.

What is the Difference Between OWI & DUI?

Drunk driving is a serious offense carrying severe penalties. Under Indiana law, the crime is called operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), but in everyday use is commonly referred to as driving under the influence (DUI). Regardless of what it is called, drunk driving is a misdemeanor or felony charge and can result in incarceration, fines, and the loss of your driving privileges.

DUI cases are extremely nuanced, often relying on a police officer's observations or a chemical test analysis. Unfortunately, the "evidence" that can cause a conviction is not always accurate, which means an innocent person could be found guilty of this crime.

Our DUI attorneys in Fort Wayne can develop a tailor-made defense for your case. Schedule your FREE consultation by calling us at (888) 912-7220 or submitting an online contact form.

Alcohol Abuse Deterrent Program (AADP)

In DUI cases in which alcohol abuse is determined to be a contributing factor to the offense, the driver can be placed in an Alcohol Abuse Deterrent Program (AADP). The program is designed to get individuals with substance abuse disorders the treatment they need to address the underlying issues leading to alcohol use and criminal behavior.

When a person is referred to an AADP, their case is suspended. If they successfully complete the program, the court will dismiss their charges. However, if they violate the conditions, their case will resume, and they could face criminal penalties.

At Arnold Terrill Ridenour, P.C., we explore every legal option to help our clients receive the treatment they need.

Information About Field Sobriety Tests in Indiana

For a law enforcement officer to make a DUI arrest in Indiana, they need to establish “probable cause,” or a confirmed suspicion that a crime (driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol) has been committed. To do this, they may use field sobriety tests.

Field sobriety tests come in many different forms. However, they’re usually designed to test a driver’s ability to handle both mental and physical tasks simultaneously. While the tests might be difficult for most people to do while completely sober, they’re downright impossible to do while drunk, when the brain’s ability to do multiple things at once is inhibited.

Because these tests can turn up so many false positives, it’s imperative that they are properly administered. Even with immense training and practice, law enforcement officers still make mistakes that lead to false arrests. Thus, the NHTSA has standardized procedures for three fairly reliable field sobriety tests to make them as accurate as possible: the one leg-stand, the walk-and-turn, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

One-Leg Stand Test

This test involves the subject standing on one leg, lifting the other, pointing their toes outward, and then performing some sort of mental task, such as counting backward from 30. The intent is to mix a relatively difficult physical test with a task that requires someone to think. Those who are drunk could struggle to keep their balance or seriously mess up on the mental portion, indicating intoxication.

Walk-and-Turn Test

In this test, the officer will ask the suspected individual to walk heel-to-toe in a straight line for a certain number of steps, kind of like being on a balance beam. Once they’ve done that, the officer will instruct them to turn on the spot without lifting their feet and then immediately walk back the same number of steps. This requires careful focus on listening to instructions along with a somewhat difficult physical test that also has a balance aspect to it. Balance usually disappears quickly when intoxicated.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is perhaps the hardest to fool in that it has a physical task that’s nearly impossible for even the savviest of drinkers to know how to overcome. The officer simply holds up an object, like a pen, small light, or even their finger, and moves it from side to side at the individual’s eye level. The individual must follow the object without moving their head. Those who are intoxicated can’t control the muscles that move their eyes, resulting in flickering or twitching motions, known as nystagmus.

Our Fort Wayne DUI Lawyers Are on Your Side

At Arnold Terrill Ridenour, P.C., we are committed to defending those charged with serious OWI crimes. We are familiar with the local courts and judicial system and can give you an honest assessment of your case and straightforward answers about your legal options.

Our DUI attorneys in Fort Wayne can develop a tailor-made defense for your case. Schedule your free consultation by calling us at (888) 912-7220 or submitting an online contact form

Penalties for a First DUI in Indiana

Generally, a first-time DUI in Indiana is charged as a Class C or Class A misdemeanor, provided that no aggravating factors were involved. The penalties a court can impose for an OWI conviction depend on the classification of the charge.

Class C misdemeanor charges arise when a person is operating a vehicle:

  • With a BAC of .08 or more but less than .15,
  • With a controlled substance in their blood, or
  • While intoxicated

The penalties include:

Class A misdemeanor charges arise when a person is operating a vehicle:

  • With an alcohol concentration of .15 or more, or
  • While intoxicated and driving in a manner that endangers others

The penalties include:

  • Up to 1 year of incarceration
  • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • Up to 1 year of driver's license suspension

Law enforcement officers aggressively pursue those suspected of driving under the influence. If you are facing charges, seek legal representation from our first-time DUI defense lawyers in Fort Wayne.

Penalties for a Second DUI in Indiana

If a person has a previous DUI on their record, the penalties they can face increase. A prior DUI is defined as one that occurred within 7 years of the current violation.

A second-time DUI is a Level 6 felony, penalized by:

  • Between 6 months and 2 ½ years of incarceration
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • A minimum 5-day incarceration term
  • At least 240 hours of community service
  • Up to 2 ½ years of driver's license suspension
  • Drug or alcohol abuse assessment
  • Drug or alcohol abuse treatment

Our Fort Wayne second DUI defense attorneys will work hard to protect your rights and seek a favorable outcome on your behalf.

Penalties for a Third DUI in Indiana

Committing a third DUI violation within 7 years of a prior is a Level 6 felony. Although this is the same level as a second DUI, some of the penalties substantially increase.

The punishments for a third OWI conviction include:

  • Between 6 months and 2 ½ years of incarceration
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Minimum 10-day incarceration term
  • At least 480 hours of community service
  • Up to 2 ½ years of driver's license suspension
  • Drug or alcohol abuse assessment
  • Drug or alcohol abuse treatment

If you have been charged with a third DUI, it is imperative that you hire an experienced Fort Wayne OWI attorney to provide counsel throughout your case.

Felony-Level DUIs in Indiana

If certain aggravating factors are present, an Indiana DUI can be charged as a felony – even a first-time offense, which is typically a misdemeanor.

Felony DUI charges can arise in the following circumstances:

  • OWI with a minor in the vehicle: If at least one passenger was under 18 years of age at the time of the offense, the crime is a Level 6 felony.
  • OWI causing serious bodily injury: If the DUI resulted in serious bodily injury to any person other than the alleged offender, it is a Level 5 felony. However, if the driver had a previous DUI conviction in the past 5 years, the offense is a Level 4 felony.
  • OWI causing death: If a driver, violating the state's DUI laws, caused catastrophic injury or death to another person, they may be charged with a Level 4 felony.

The penalties for felony DUIs are as follows:

  • Level 6 felony:
    • Between 6 months and 2 ½ years of incarceration
    • Up to $10,000 in fines
    • Driver's license suspension
  • Level 5 felony:
    • Between 1 and 6 years of incarceration
    • Up to $10,000 in fines
    • Driver's license suspension
  • Level 4 felony:
    • Between 2 and 12 years of incarceration
    • Up to $10,000 in fines
    • Driver's license suspension 

Understanding the Consequences of a DUI

Being charged with a DUI can have serious and long-lasting consequences, including fines, license suspension, increased insurance rates, and even potential jail time. It's important to understand the potential penalties and repercussions of a DUI conviction in Indiana, as well as the legal options available to you.

Our experienced Fort Wayne DUI lawyers are dedicated to protecting your rights and future. We have successfully handled thousands of DUI cases and are committed to building a strong defense on your behalf. Don't wait to seek legal representation – schedule a free consultation with our team today to start building your defense against DUI charges.

Exploring DUI Defense Strategies

When facing DUI charges, it's crucial to have a strong defense strategy to protect your rights and minimize the potential consequences. Our experienced Fort Wayne DUI lawyers are well-versed in a variety of defense tactics to challenge the prosecution's case and work towards a favorable outcome for our clients.

Some effective DUI defense strategies include:

  • Challenging the legality of the traffic stop
  • Questioning the accuracy of field sobriety tests
  • Disputing the reliability of breathalyzer or blood test results
  • Seeking to suppress evidence obtained through unlawful means
  • Pursuing alternative sentencing options, such as diversion programs or probation

By exploring these defense strategies, our DUI lawyers can build a strong case on your behalf and advocate for the best possible resolution to your DUI charges.

To discuss your case with our OWI lawyers in Fort Wayne, contact usat (888) 912-7220. We offer a FREE case evaluation.

Indiana DUI/OWI FAQs

What are the penalties for an OWI in Fort Wayne, IN?

The penalties for an OWI in Fort Wayne, IN can include fines, license suspension, and potential incarceration. It's crucial to seek legal representation to understand the specific penalties you may face and to build a strong defense.

Can I refuse a field sobriety test in Indiana?

In Indiana, you have the right to refuse a field sobriety test. However, it's important to be aware that refusing a test may lead to administrative penalties such as license suspension. It's advisable to seek legal advice before making a decision.

What are the potential defenses against an OWI charge in Fort Wayne?

Potential defenses against an OWI charge in Fort Wayne can include challenging the accuracy of chemical analysis results, questioning the validity of field sobriety tests, and presenting evidence of alternative explanations for driving behavior. Consulting with a DUI attorney is essential to explore available defenses.

Is it possible to have an OWI charge reduced to a lesser offense in Indiana?

In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate a reduction of an OWI charge to a lesser offense such as reckless driving. However, the feasibility of this depends on the specific circumstances of the case and the legal strategies employed. Seeking professional legal representation is crucial in pursuing such options.

The Reason We Work So Hard Read What Past Clients Had to Say

    "Mr. Arnold and Mr. Terrill are amazing!"

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    "Mr. Terrill handled my case and did a great job."

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    On two occasions, I had the good sense to call Bart after receiving a ticket. Bart handled everything perfectly all while billing me a figure much, much less than most local attorneys.

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    He will be honest and tell you upfront exactly what to do and how the cards will be dealt and how you're going to play your hand.

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    I was represented by Sean Arata on an infraction and could not have hoped for a better outcome.

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Why People Choose to Work With Arnold Terrill Ridenour, P.C.

We Will Protect Your Rights & Future
  • Renowned Reputation
    Our firm has built a great reputation due to our proven track record of success in complex cases.
  • Aggressive Defense

    Our legal team will provide a vigorous defense regardless of the severity of the charge. 

  • Accessible to Clients
    We understand that time is of the essence. We are available 24/7 and offer free consultations.
  • Unparalleled Experience

    At Arnold Terrill Ridenour, P.C., our attorneys have a combined 75 years of legal experience. 

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Arnold Terrill Ridenour, P.C. Arnold Terrill Ridenour, P.C.
Contact 888-912-7220
127 West Berry Street
Suite 1000
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
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