Punishments for Drunk Driving in Indiana

Officially, all drunk or drugged driving offenses in the state of Indiana are referred to as OWI or Operating While Intoxicated (instead of DUI/DWI/etc.). You will be booked for OWI if you were found operating a vehicle with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) of 0.08% or higher or if the motorist was found to be intoxicated with alcohol while driving.  For underage drivers, a BAC of 0.02% or higher will count as drunk driving.

The OWI offenses also involve driving under the influence of other drugs and controlled substances, but for the purpose of this article, we will discuss drunk driving and the punishments involved therein.

Punishments for Drunk Driving in Indiana

First of all, an Indiana OWI/DUI offense will never be erased from your record, which means it will always be regarded as a prior offense. However, if an offender happens to have priors in the span of the last five years, any further offense will be counted as a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

First OWI Penalties

If you are found guilty of your first OWI, typically the offense will be deemed either a Class C or a Class A Misdemeanor. If your blood alcohol level is found to be 0.15% or more, the offense will be interpreted as “endangering a person” while driving under influence. In this case, you will be found guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor. Otherwise, it will be a Class C Misdemeanor. Now, let’s look at the penalties for both.

Class A

  • Jail time: up to one year
  • Fines: up to $5,000
  • Suspension of License: typically, 180 days
  • IID (Ignition interlock Device): up to one year

Class C

  • Jail time: up to sixty days
  • Fines: up to $500
  • Suspension of License: typically, 180 days
  • IID (Ignition interlock Device): up to sixty days

Penalties for Second and Third Offense

Save the license suspension period, the punishments for second and third OWI offenses are identical—at least, on paper (that is, if they are still designated as misdemeanor and do not become a felony). However, for all repeat offenses, your license will get suspended for a period of at least one year.

A Felony OWI

If your OWI offense turns into a felony, you will be facing six months to thirty months of incarceration and fines up to $10,000.

OWI Attorney

If you are booked for an OWI offense, you must always engage the service of an experienced Terre Haute OWI attorney who will know all the ins and outs of Indiana OWI laws. Even if you are found guilty, a good attorney can always help in reducing the harm done to you. This includes reduction in fines, turning the jail time into probation, and other court options such as community service, participation in alcohol education programs, etc.

Keep in mind that an OWI can seriously jeopardize your life in more than one way. So, if you ever happen to find yourself in such an unfortunate circumstance, you must do all in your power to minimize the harm done to your person and your family.

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