In the past, Indiana residents facing a suspension of driving privileges for offenses such as first time Drinking and Driving were required to petition the Court for an SDP hearing. That petition may require the defendant to wait months for the SDP hearing to be set. All while being unable to drive to work, church, and so on. This caused undue hardship on many individuals and potentially cost the defendant’s their jobs.
However, beginning January 1, 2019, that all changes. Indiana Code 9-30-16-1 will allow individuals who face a driving suspension to request, as early as their initial hearing, a stay of a suspension pending a petition for SDP.
The Statute States;
(1) The court shall:
(A) stay the suspension of the person’s driving privileges at the initial hearing and shall not submit the probable cause affidavit related to the person’s offense to the bureau; and
(B) set the matter for a specialized driving privileges hearing not later than thirty (30) days after the initial hearing.
(2) If the person does not file a petition for a specialized driving privileges hearing not later than ten (10) days after the date of the initial hearing, the court shall lift the stay of the suspension of the person’s driving privileges and shall submit the probable cause affidavit related to the person’s offense to the bureau for automatic suspension.
(3) If the person files a petition for a specialized driving privileges hearing not later than ten (10) days after the initial hearing, the stay of the suspension of the person’s driving privileges continues until the matter is heard and a determination is made by the court at the specialized driving privileges hearing.
This is good news to defendant’s who have been wrongfully accused of a driving offense, or who have had a drivers license suspended for a minor infraction.
There are many aspects to accurately obtaining specialized driving privileges. If you need help navigating the new law, and keeping yourself on the road, please contact us to find out how we can help!