Stevens, Travis, & Fortin
Plymouth Indiana Attorneys at Law (574) 936-4041
119 W Garro Street, Plymouth Indiana 46563
Read here what happens in Marshall County Indiana Superior Court 2 with on an OWI charge.
Commonly known as DUI, DWI, drunk driving, but in Indiana it is Operating While Intoxicate (OWI). OWI can be a bit of a personal disaster, with short-term and long-term consequences. A conviction will sit on your record for at least 8 years before you can start expungement proceedings to clear your record.
Here is a quick run-down of the OWI and related procedure in Marshall County:
Recently there have been efforts made by the court to speed this process. Depending on particular facts and strategies it has typically taken between two months and a year from failed chemical test to legal resolution of a case.
If you have a lawyer you will most likely make two trips to the courthouse. The first is for your initial hearing. The second will be for a suppression hearing, the trial, or the plea submission.
Without a lawyer you will probably go four times total, initial hearing, pretrial conference (there is alway at least one), change of plea, and trial or submission of plea.
OWI's once charged are hard to defeat. If you can't get the evidence suppressed, a conviction is likely. Getting the evidence suppressed is a technical and time-consuming effort. Fortunately there are many angles to consider for suppression opportunities.
If you take your OWI to trial and are convicted, your likely sentence will include a fine and costs of $500; participation in Marshall County Drug and Alcohol Program (MCDAP) which cost $400 and your time to meet with chemical dependency counselors and your time to follow their recommendations; a year of probation which is $50 plus $15 per month for reporting and has many onerous terms; some unpredictable jail time (at Marshall County jail, fortunately, and not Indiana Department of Corrections); drivers license suspension for up to 180 days. Now, typically in an OWI case there are other charges also that may carry their own additional fines and penalties.
By accepting your guilt, and submitting to the will of the court, you show remorse and may reasonably ask the prosecutor not to push for the highest sentence. You still will not like it, but it reduces the chances of getting the maximum sentience possible with a conviction for OWI. The prosecutor will make a recommendation to the judge for a sentence that your lawyer will have negotiated with her. The only leverage you really have with the prosecutor here is that she, like most of us, hates to lose. If you are going to trial against her without a lawyer, she does not fear losing. The sentence will be similar to that of a conviction above, but hopefully softened around the edges in a significant way.
Mistakes happen. Charges, enumerated as "counts" come from a police report, then to a probable cause affidavit, then to the discretion of the prosecutor. Prosecutors make mistakes, of course. But it is very important to them, fortunately, to get things right. If we can point out to them that some lesser charge or no charge is more appropriate for the given facts they are quick to drop or amend counts.
Though challenging, this is where we want to land. Dismissal means no fines, no jail, no probation. And it means no record. Following this with an expungement petition we can likely prevent your arrest and charges from being made available to future prying eyes.
You know what is on the line here (jail time, probation, mandated drug and alcohol counseling, disqualification from employment opportunities, higher insurance costs, increased penalties for subsequent OWI charges). Do everything you can to avoid a conviction here. Hire a lawyer to review the state's case against you. If it looks like you can't avoid a conviction you will want someone on your side who is knowledgeable about the plea bargain process and experienced negotiating with the deputy prosecutor. These things matter a lot.
Stevens, Travis, & Fortin
Attorneys (574) 936-4041
119 W Garro Street, Plymouth IN 46563