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Published On: Wed, Aug 1st, 2018

Indiana Drunk Driving Laws, Penalties, and Consequences

Although commonly referred to as a DUI (Driving Under the Influence), OUI (Operating Under the Influence), or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), Indiana refers to charges of intoxicated driving as OWI — Operating While Intoxicated. The charge of OWI in Indiana covers the intoxication of alcohol or controlled substances.

Public domain image/Jon Sullivan

What are the laws in Indiana for Drunk Driving?

There are many laws regarding drunk driving in Indiana, but the main laws are as follows:

  • For drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 years old, there is a “zero tolerance law,” and any BAC above 0.02% is punishable since minors cannot legally consume alcohol.
  • For drivers over the age of 21, the BAC limit is 0.08%. This could be as little as a single drink for a driver weighing 100 lbs.

If a driver over the age of 21 is arrested for OWI and has a minor (under the age of 18) in the vehicle, the charge is immediately elevated to a felony regardless of BAC, OWI arrest history, or any other factors.

What are the penalties for drunk driving in Indiana?

Penalties for OWI in Indiana can range from fines, license suspensions, or to prison sentences depending on the BAC of the driver, if there is a history of arrests, the age of passengers, and if there was serious harm or death caused to others.

  • Minimum license suspensions are as follows:
    • 1st offense – 90 days to 2 years
    • 2nd offense – 180 days to 2 years
    • 3rd offense – 1 to 10 years

In addition to license suspensions, incarceration and/or a fine is very possible for any OWI, but the punishments increase depending on the aforementioned factors.

  • The possible fines and incarceration penalties for an OWI are as follows
    • BAC 0.08% – 0.15%, or under the influence of a controlled substance – a fine of up to $500, and up to 90 days in jail
    • BAC >0.15%, and/or operating in a manner that endangers others – $5,000 fine and up to 1 year in jail
    • OWI with a minor in the car, 2nd offense, or causing serious harm – $10,000 fine and up to 2.5 years in jail
    • Any OWI resulting in death is a felony that carries a possible sentence of 12 years in prison and $10,000 for each death.

Depending on the specific circumstances of the OWI, penalties may vary. With each recurring offense, the punishments increase significantly.

What else should I know about OWI charges in Indiana?

If you refuse a sobriety test during a traffic stop and potential OWI arrest, you will still face charges and penalties as you would otherwise. Anyone who refuses a test can have their license suspended for a year, and if you have a previous OWI conviction, can lose your license for two years. Hardship licenses (to be able to get to your job) are not available to anyone who refuses a drug or alcohol test during an OWI stop.

If you have been charged with an OWI/OUI/DUI in Indiana, there are many possible penalties you may face that could affect your personal and professional life. Many law firms in the state offer free consultations with a defense attorney, which is an important step in handling your case.

 

Author: Shirley Wilson

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