Who is eligible for victim compensation?
The answer is a person who is a victim of a violent crime. Indiana Code defines a violent crime as a felony or Class A misdemeanor that results in injury or death to the victim. Persons eligible for assistance from the victim's assistance fund include:
* An innoncent victim of any violent crime including a crash caused by an intoxicated driver.
* A surviving spouse, dependent child or other legal dependent of an innocent victim having been killed as a result of any
violent crime including a crash caused by an intoxicated driver.
* A person who his injured or killed trying to prevent a violent crime or giving aid to a law enforcement officer.
* Outpatient mental health counseling for sex crime victims or the immediate family members of a homicide victim.
Is there a medical exemption regarding the seat belt law?
Yes. A medical exemption is permissable if a person has a letter from one's physician stating the medical condition for which the exemption is necessary. A copy of the letter should be carried on that person, or in the automobile in which the person is riding, or with the vehicle registration.
What happens if I am pulled over the OWI and refuse the certified breath test?
The Indiana Implied Consent laws state that a person who operates a vehicle implied consents to submit to the chemical test provisions of the state laws as a condition of operating a vehicle in Indiana. A law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that a person has violated Indiana's drunk driving laws is required to offer the person the opportunity to submit to a chemical test. The officer is not required to offer a chemical test to a person who is unconscious and may offer more than one (1) chemical test. The chemical test must be administered within three (3) hours after the officer had probable cause that the person committed a drunk driving offense. A person must submit to each chemical test offered by a law enforcement officer in order to comply with the implied consent laws.
If a person refuses to submit to a chemical test, the arresting officer shall inform the person that refusal will result in the suspension of the person's driving privileges. In Kosciusko County the law enforcement officer will typically read the implied consent warning off of a card or OWI Checklist, stating:
"I have probable cause to believe that you have driven under the under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs. Before I can place you under arrest I must offer you a breath test for intoxication to be given by a qualified breath test operator. If you refuse to submit to the test, your license to drive in Indiana will be suspended for one year."
If a person refuses to submit to a chemical test after having been advised that the refusal will result in the suspension of driving privileges or submits to a chemical test that results in prima facie evidence of intoxication, the arresting officer shall obtain the person's driver's license or permit if the person is in possession of the document and issue a receipt valid until the initial hearing. The officer shall submit a probable cause affidavit to the prosecuting attorney of the county in which the alleged offense occurred. And the officer shall send a copy of the probable cause affidavit to the bureau of motor vehicles.
If the affidavit of probable cause states that a person refused to submit to a chemical test, the bureau shall suspend the driving privileges of the person for one (1) year. If the person has at least one (1) previous conviction for operating while intoxicated, the bureau shall suspend the persons driving privileges for two (2) years. The court can order that the administrative suspension be terminated under IC 9-30-5. This license suspension is in addition to any suspension ordered by the court if the person is convicted of the offense of operating while into
I paid money for bond to get out of jail. Will I get that money back?
The purpose of a bond is to ensure your attendance at court hearings as ordered by the court. If you paid a cash bond and appear at all of your court ordered proceedings, that money will be made available to you at the conclusion of your case. If you posted a bond using a bondsman, the money paid is the fee charged by the bondsman for posting that bond and ensuring that your appearance in court. You will not get that money back.
I have been arrested and charged with Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (OWI), am I going to lose my license?
Once you have been officially charged with commiting the criminal offense of Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (OWI), certain paperwork is filed with the court. At that time, the Judge will read the paperwork to determine if there is probable cause to believe that you have committed the offense of OWI. Probable Cause is a reasonable ground to suspect that a person has committed a particular crime, which amounts to more than a bare suspicion but less then legal evidence. If the Judge finds probable cause, then you will have your license suspended by either the Judge at your initial hearing, usually your first court date, or by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, which will send you notice in the mail. You do not have to be convicted of OWI before your license is suspended. The determining factor is if the Judge finds probable cause then your license will be suspended.
If I am stopped by a police officer do I have to talk?
When you are stopped by a police officer you do not have to talk or answer any questions, but you may be required to identify yourself. In addition, you may be required to provide certain identification if you were operating a vehicle, your license, registration and insurance information. It is important to know that if you do speak to the officer, anything that you say will most likely be stated in a police report and subsequently may be used against you at trial. Keep in mind that the officer will also be observing your demeanor and body language which can also be used against you at trial. Once you have been arrested, at anytime you have the right to talk to an attorney before answering any questions.
I’ve been arrested and have to go to court. Am I going to jail after the first hearing?
The first hearing is called the initial hearing. At the initial hearing you will be advised of your constitutional rights, the offense with which you are charged, and the penalties for the offense. You will then be asked if you would like to plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, yes, you could go to jail on that day. If you plead not guilty, the court will schedule additional proceedings, such as a pre-trial conference or status conference, and ask you to return.
The victim doesn’t want to press charges. Can the State pick up the charged?
In Indiana, the prosecuting attorney has the authority to file and prosecute criminal charges. An alleged victim of a crime may report a crime and indicate the desired outcome. However, the alleged victim does not control the filing of charges or the outcome of a criminal case. Those powers are in the hands of the prosecuting attorney. After reviewing the information and evidence submitted by law enforcement, the prosecuting attorney determines which charges, if any, will be filed with the court. The prosecuting attorney will often consider the wishes of the alleged victim, but is not controlled by those wishes.
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