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Charged with OWI in Benton County, Indiana? A Defense Attorney’s Guide

If you have been arrested for Operating While Intoxicated in Benton County, Indiana, you likely have many questions. What will happen at the Initial Hearing? Will my license be suspended? Could I go to jail? Gibson Law Office attorneys have extensive experience defending OWI – DUI charges in Benton County. Here is what you should know:

Where do I go? The Benton County Circuit Court is located on the 3rd floor of the Courthouse in Fowler, Indiana.

What happens at the Initial Hearing? You must appear in-person for the Initial Hearing. When you arrive, you will be provided with an advisement of rights form at the security station outside the Courtroom. It explains the range of possible penalties and your rights in court. A copy of the signed form must be presented to the Judge when your name is called.

Will I lose my Driver’s License? Your driving privileges will be ordered suspended for 180 days or until the case is resolved. This is Indiana law. However, hiring an attorney prior to the hearing could help get you back on the road immediately. More about this below!

What happens during the Hearing? You will be presented with a copy of the charges and given the opportunity to enter a plea of not guilty or guilty. If you plead not guilty, a Pre-Trial Conference will be scheduled at some time in the future.

Why you should hire an attorney prior to the Initial Hearing.

Formal criminal charges are often filed days in advance of the Initial Hearing. An attorney can contact the prosecutor and often obtain the police reports and other evidence prior to the Initial Hearing. This allows the lawyer to evaluate the evidence and provide feedback on the fastest way to get a person’s driving privileges restored. In some cases, a Plea Agreement can be negotiated that allows for Specialized Driving Privileges to be ordered at the Initial Hearing.

If a person has a job, this means that instead of being suspended for 180 days, he or she could drive for employment purposes right away. Hiring an attorney prior to the Initial Hearing is critical to minimizing the time a person is unable to drive following an OWI – DUI arrest. Waiting until after the Initial Hearing could result in a person having a suspended driver’s license for weeks or months, when he or she could have been driving with Specialized Driving Privileges. If you have been arrested, don’t hesitate to contact Gibson Law Office.