If you get pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), the maximum penalties aren’t necessarily guaranteed if the court finds you guilty. Generally, they try to prioritize rehabilitation, especially for the first offense, so seeking to improve an your OWI defense can help the judge be more lenient. Aside from consulting a qualified Indiana OWI attorney, here are several ways to help you receive a lighter penalty.
Why Improve an OWI Defense
It is always worth getting a lawyer for an OWI to help get the case dropped and win in court. Hiring a lawyer instead of representing yourself provides many benefits. A defense attorney can save you from having a criminal record, especially if this is the first time you’re being charged. A criminal record has many repercussions that can prevent you from doing things such as:
- Receiving a professional license
- Renting an apartment
- Receiving scholarships and loans
- Gaining custody of your children
- Traveling to another country
Alienation from friends and family can result from a criminal record. You can avoid OWI convictions and a lot of frustration down the road if you seek counsel from an Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer instead of representing yourself.
Get Screened for Substance Abuse
Even if you don’t have an alcohol addiction, drinking and driving indicate a sign of alcohol abuse. Additionally, the judge may assume you abuse alcohol, which may be enough for them to warrant consequences for the actions. Completing an alcohol and drug assessment and enrolling in a court-approved treatment program before the judge hears your case improves your defense. Screenings will show that you recognize and acknowledge the problem. It also indicates that you are proactive about fixing the issue and preventing further occurrences.
Complete a Driver Intervention Program
In states like Ohio, first-time DUI offenders can complete a driver intervention program instead of spending three days in jail. These programs involve educational classes and group discussions that focus primarily on traffic safety and substance abuse. If you take the initiative and complete the program before the trial, the prosecution will see that you’re willing to admit you have a problem, and you’re ready to take steps to overcome it. As long as their main goal is rehabilitation, this should work in your favor.
Resolve Outstanding Issues
If you have any blemishes on your driving record, the court may consider an OWI arrest to show a pattern of misbehavior. To avoid giving the wrong impression, address any outstanding infractions before your court date. For example, if you have any unpaid traffic tickets or your insurance has lapsed, pay these costs. A seasoned DUI defense lawyer can review each violation and help you determine how to resolve it promptly.