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Is a guilty plea the only option when accused of drunk driving?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2022 | DUI

Police officers across Indiana are constantly on the lookout for signs of drivers committing an operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) offense. Also known as drunk driving or driving under the influence (DUI) charges in other states, an Indiana OWI offense comes with serious consequences.

A driver accused of intoxication at the wheel could face jail time, major fines and possibly the loss of their driver’s license. People could also lose their professional licenses and end up paying far more for car insurance when they do get their licenses back.

It takes a combination of chemical evidence and poor performance at the wheel or on a field sobriety test for the state to charge someone with an OWI offense. Given that there is evidence against you, does that mean your only option is to plead guilty to your pending OWI charges?

There are many possible defense strategies

Conviction is never certain when you face drunk driving charges or any other criminal accusations. You always have the right to defend yourself against criminal charges in court. There are multiple ways in which Indiana drivers can successfully fight back against OWI charges.

They could show that the police officer violated their rights by conducting an unwarranted traffic stop. They could challenge the accuracy of the breath test by showing that the police department didn’t maintain the unit properly or that there was a medical explanation for how they performed on the test.

The right strategy will depend on the evidence against you and the circumstances of your arrest. Many drivers are able to raise a reasonable doubt about whether they actually were under the influence or not even when there may be a field sobriety test and a chemical breath test helping bolster the prosecution’s case.

Fighting back will defend your future

An OWI conviction could cost your freedom and your driver’s license. It could also cause lasting damage to your reputation, education and career. Fighting your pending criminal charges will help you avoid jail time and fines while also retaining your driver’s license. Instead of pleading guilty and accepting the penalties the courts assigned, you can assert your innocence and seek to minimize the consequences of the charges against you.

Learning more about criminal defense strategies and your rights as a defendant will help you respond to pending OWI charges appropriately.