Specialized Driving Privileges on Refusal Suspensions in Indiana

Getting Specialized Driving Privileges

Under Indiana Law, courts may order the suspension of a person’s driving privileges in place of criminal charges or an ongoing investigation. Indiana drivers whose licenses have been suspended by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles or a court may petition to obtain a Specialized Driver’s Privilege (SDP). Specialized Driving Privileges allow Indiana residents to drive for specific purposes while their Indiana driver’s license is suspended. Under Ind. Code § 9-30-16-3, an individual who seeks specialized driving privileges must file a petition that includes verification by the petitioner, petitioner’s age, date of birth, and address, state the exact type of privilege you wish to receive and the reasons behind it, and file it in the court where the suspension was handed down. Recently, the statutes that control specialized driving privileges received an overhaul that specifically targeted sections of IC § 9-30-16-1.

2020 Indiana SDP Law Changes

Prior to 2020, you were ineligible for specialized driving privileges if (1) you have never been an Indiana resident, (2) you refused a chemical test requested by a police officer, or (3) were found unfit to operate a motor vehicle by the BMV. However, effective July 1, 2020, the Indiana Legislature has created an exception for the ban following a chemical test refusal. Under IC 9-30-6-8(d), the court may, as an alternative to suspending your driving privileges, require that your vehicle be equipped with a functioning certified ignition interlock device. This exception may be requested even if you refused the chemical test or submitted a chemical test that indicated you were intoxicated. Your attorney will need to petition the court for this exception to be granted.

An Ignition Interlock device is a breathalyzer that is installed in your vehicle. It requires the driver to blow into the device and will immobilize the vehicle for a period of time if alcohol is detected. The cost of the device may vary depending on where you live. Generally, there is an installation fee and a small daily fee during the period the device is installed.

The BMV will keep the order in effect until it is notified by the court that the criminal charges against you have been resolved. In addition to retaining your conditional driving privileges, the BMV will not impose an administrative suspension, and no suspension will be noted on your driving record.

You will want to make sure your attorney is up-to-date on the amendment to the Indiana Code and the new rules/regulations for acquiring SDP. It can mean the difference between not losing your driving privileges immediately, at all, or for an extended period of time!

If you or somebody you know has recently been accused of a crime or has questions about the criminal case process, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys in Indianapolis at Banks & Brower, LLC. We are available at all times by calling us at (317) 870-0019 or by emailing info@banksbrower.com.