George D. Jones, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, et al., Appellee-Plaintiff.
from the Wayne Superior Court The Honorable Darrin M.
Dolehanty, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 89D03-1602-MI-6.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Ray L. Szarmach Merrillville, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Gregory F. Zoeller Attorney General of
Indiana Kyle Hunter Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis,
George D. Jones appeals the denial of his petition for
specialized driving privileges, which he filed about six and
a half years after having his Indiana driver's license
suspended for life by the trial court. On appeal, Jones
contends that the trial court improperly denied his petition.
Jones asks that we remand the case to the trial court with
instructions to stay the lifetime suspension and issue
specialized driving privileges with the condition that he be
required to use a photo/video ignition interlock device.
& Procedural History
In 2009, Jones pled guilty to class D felony operating a
motor vehicle after being suspended as a habitual traffic
violator (Count I) and class D felony operating a vehicle
while intoxicated (OWI) with a prior OWI conviction within
five years (Count II). Pursuant to the plea agreement, on
July 27, 2009, the trial court sentenced Jones on Count I to
three years in prison and suspended Jones's license to
drive for life. On Count II, Jones was sentenced to a
concurrent term of three years in prison and his license to
drive was suspended for two years.
After his release from prison in 2010, Jones moved to
Mississippi and began working for a roofing company as a
laborer. He is now the operations manager of the
company's Biloxi, Mississippi location. Jones is being
considered for a promotion, which would require a
driver's license and regular travel between Mississippi
and Louisiana. He cannot obtain a Mississippi driver's
license without first having his driving privileges restored
On February 17, 2016, Jones, then age thirty-six, filed a
verified petition for specialized driving
privileges with the trial court that had previously
suspended his driving privileges for life. Jones alleged,
among other things, that he has had no contact with the
criminal justice system since his release from prison and has
had no driving violations. Additionally, he noted that he has
recently obtained sole physical custody of his two young
children. Jones asserted that specialized driving
privileges were necessary in order for him to work and
properly care for his children.
On March 23, 2016, the trial court held a hearing on the
petition. At the hearing, Jones presented evidence that he
had recently obtained automobile liability insurance. He also
provided the court with his driving routes for work, the
grocery, and the doctor. The State presented no evidence at
the hearing and made no recommendation to the trial court.
After discussing the viability and enforceability of using an
ignition interlock device with photo or video capability, the
trial court took the matter under advisement.
The trial court issued an order denying the petition on March
29, 2016. The order provided in pertinent part:
This matter was before the Court for hearing on a Petition
for Specialized Driving Privileges. Having considered the
evidence presented, and having taken the matter under
advisement, the Court ...