In Indiana and the rest of the country, the highest blood alcohol concentration level with which a driver can operate a vehicle is 0.08. Operating a vehicle with BAC above this level is an offense. In fact, during zero-tolerance drives and for underage drivers, the BAC limit is 0.02. Also, if a driver’s BAC is found to be more than 0.15, that driver can expect to face enhanced penalties. In Indiana, the term used for drunk driving offenses is “operating while intoxicated,” or OWI.
In terms of penalties, the driving license of a driver convicted of OWI is suspended for a period ranging from 90 days to 10 years depending on how many times that driver has been convicted of DUI. Moreover, the convicted driver may have to attend mandatory alcohol education sessions, have his or her vehicle confiscated and may also have to drive in the future with an ignition interlock device fitted to the car.
Penalties for OWI can also include fines and incarceration. For instance, in the case of the first OWI offense, Indiana laws impose a fine of up to $5,000 and a prison sentence of up to one year. The fines increase from there on with the third OWI offense attracting a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to three years. In addition, a person convicted of DUI has to bear all the legal expenses.
However, one should remember that OWI charges are often grounded on findings that can be challenged in court. For example, there are certain medicines that contain alcohol and increase an innocent person’s BAC level, or there is a possibility that the breathalyzer used to check the BAC level was faulty or not properly calibrated. Therefore, for any person who has been accused of OWI in Indiana, or anywhere else, it may be a wise decision to seek the counsel of a defense lawyer at the earliest possible opportunity.