Driving With A Suspended License in Indiana (DWLS)
If you don’t challenge a DWLS charge in Indiana, you may face infractions, misdemeanors, or felony charges in criminal court. Instead of contesting driving while suspended allegations on your own, you can contact an Indiana criminal defense lawyer to discuss your right to a comprehensive defense. The criminal defense attorneys at Stein Law can work with you to challenge the accusations brought against you and have those charges reduced or dropped.
Indiana state courts can suspend your license as punishment for alleged offenses beyond those that may occur on the road. You may face a license suspension for failing to pay child support or violating your parole. If you haven’t already challenged a license suspension or a court denied your previous challenge, it’s in your best interest to abide by the expectations set out for you by Indiana’s courts. If you’re accused of driving on a suspended license (DWLS), you may accidentally compound the charges already brought against you.
Stein Law’s team of experienced criminal defense attorneys understands that the charges you face may be based on unfounded or inaccurate evidence. That’s why our team advocates for your right to challenge DWLS charges. You can contact our team from jail or the comfort of your home to discuss how you can fight back against unfounded DWLS charges. Our team can meet with you, provide a comprehensive defense, and otherwise ensure you receive fair and equal treatment while navigating Indiana’s criminal court system.
What Are DWLS (Driving While License Suspended) Charges?
If you face driving while license suspended, or DWLS, charges in Indiana, the state’s law enforcement representatives accuse you of operating a motor vehicle without an active license. Specifically, laws regarding drivers’ rights behind the wheel state that drivers whose licenses have been suspended may not navigate Indiana’s highways without facing criminal consequences.
The good news is that Indiana DWLS charges force the prosecution to uphold a substantial burden of proof. An Indiana criminal defense attorney can help outline this burden of proof and challenge the prosecution.
What Is Indiana's DWLS Statute?
Indiana outlines its DWLS statute via Indiana Code 9-24-19, Section 1. This statute states that drivers knowingly operating a motor vehicle on a highway with a suspended license, permit, or another form of driver’s privilege can be brought to criminal court on a Class A infraction via Indiana Code 9-24-19-1.
This statute further states that if the person accused of driving on a suspended license has a criminal record noting a license suspension within the past ten years, the consequences for operating on a suspended license can rise to a Class A misdemeanor, outlined in Indiana Code 9-24-19-2.
Should you face accusations of causing an accident resulting in bodily harm while driving on a suspended license, the consequences accompanying your charges grow more severe. Indiana Code 9-24-19-3(b)(1) and (2) allow criminal courts to charge you with Level 6 or 5 felonies, depending on whether the accident you were allegedly involved in resulted in another person’s death.
Penalties for Driving While Suspended in Indiana
The first time you’re accused of operating on a suspended license, the state of Indiana reserves the right to charge you with a Class A infraction. Class A infractions can force you to contend with fines of up to $10,000. An infraction’s impact on the length of your license suspension will depend on the court and the circumstances under which you were charged.
Misdemeanor DWLS Charges
If you’ve had your license previously suspended within ten years of the day you face DWLS charges, Indiana can charge you with a Class A misdemeanor instead of an infraction. Class A misdemeanors come with up to a year of jail time and fines of up to $5,000.
Felony DWLS Charges
Accusations of driving on a suspended license and engaging in reckless roadway behavior can see you face Level 6 felony charges, particularly if your alleged misconduct results in someone else’s bodily harm. Level 6 felony charges put you at risk for fines of up to $10,000 and up to two and a half years in jail.
If your alleged misconduct results in someone else’s untimely passing, you can face Level 5 felony charges. The fine remains the same, capping at $10,000. However, you risk up to six years in prison if you don’t challenge the accusations against you.
There’s a chance that police officers may compound the charges brought against you further if you can be accused of resisting arrest, violating a traffic law, or engaging with illegal substances. With that in mind, cooperate with police officers upon your arrest, and call an attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you can get an experienced Indiana criminal defense attorney, the more steps you can take to reduce the charges brought against you.
Defending Against DWLS Charges
When it comes time to challenge the DWLS charges brought against you, you can rely on our team to prepare you for the questions that the state or another applicable prosecutor may try to trip you up with. In turn, we can help you present the reality of your case to the best of your ability. The best defenses that our team can use against your DWLS Indiana charges can include the following:
Lack of Information
Legal communication isn’t easy to follow. In the face of alternate criminal charges, there is a chance that you did not know that Indiana courts suspended your driver’s license. In this case, you may have taken to the road assuming you were free to drive, only to find that you weren’t.
If this is the case, you must bring evidence of your misunderstanding. This can include evidence of the lack of communication from the court that initially sentenced you. It can also include contradictory information regarding the status of your license. Our attorneys can present this evidence of a misunderstanding to the court, attempting to charge you with DWLS and subsequently fight to have your charges dropped or reduced.
Lack of Probable Cause
Police officers throughout Indiana cannot pull a driver over or inspect a driver’s vehicle without probable cause. Law enforcement representatives who act on any other motive can have the validity of their accusations questioned. If our team can indicate that police officers had no reason to pull you over when you were accused of driving on a suspended license, Indiana criminal courts may no longer have the means to take legal action against you.
During an initial conversation with our criminal defense attorneys, you can discuss the circumstances under which you were pulled over and what other influences might have contributed to your DWLS charges. In turn, Stein Law’s criminal defense lawyers can bring a court’s attention to any evidence indicating that you may have been treated unfairly by officers of the law.
Requesting a License Reinstatement
There are avenues you can use to request the reinstatement of your license upon its suspension or after you’ve addressed unclear DWLS Indiana charges. Once the period of time your license was suspended for passes, you can pay an applicable fine and get back on the road.
Indiana charges its residents $250 to reinstate their licenses after a first-time suspension. The state then increases the reinstatement cost, charging residents $500 and then $1,000 for a subsequent second and third reinstatement.
Contact an Indiana Criminal Defense Attorney at Stein Law
Our lawyers understand that law enforcement may misinterpret the reasons you take to the road. Similarly, we know that legal communication and the specifics of roadway conduct can be complex and confusing. With that in mind, our team of experienced criminal defense lawyers in Indiana can stand with you to challenge your DWLS charges.
You can contact our team of attorneys over the phone or through our online contact form to schedule a free case consultation after you’ve been served DWLS charges. Our team can meet you in jail, in our office, or somewhere in between to begin discussing the defenses you can present in criminal court. Reach out today for more information.