Though drunk driving claims over 10,000 lives every year, it remains one of the most common crimes committed in the United States. Indiana’s Operating while intoxicated (OWI) laws administer harsh penalties for offenders.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly one-third of all drivers arrested for an OWI are repeat offenders. The state of Indiana issues increasingly severe punishments to repeat offenders that can have devastating consequences. Understanding these penalties may help Indiana residents make better decisions.
Drive safely and avoid punishment
The state of Indiana takes OWI offenses very seriously. For those over 21, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08, but Indiana also recognizes an aggravated limit of 0.15. Drivers with an aggravated limit will receive an enhanced penalty. Indiana has “implied consent” laws as well, meaning every licensed driver agrees to submit to a breathalyzer test if pulled over.
Indiana may issue the following penalties for drivers charged with an OWI:
- 1st offense: First-time offenders face severe penalties, including fines of up to $5,000, up to one year in prison, license suspension for two years, mandatory attendance at a victim panel. The state may also confiscate one’s vehicle, install an ignition interlock device and require enrollment in an alcohol education program.
- 2nd offense: Penalties for the second offense include all the above and more. Fines increase to a maximum of $10,000. Offenders can spend anywhere from five days to six years in jail. The state may also suspend one’s license for up to six years.
- 3rd offense: Fines and jail time for the third offense remain near the same limits, depending on the timing and severity. Three-time offenders must spend a minimum of 10 days in jail or complete 480 hours of community service. License suspensions can last up to 10 years.
In all cases, the state will suspend the license of anyone who refuses a BAC test. Offenders must also consider the cost of an attorney and other administrative fees.
Consult with an attorney
Those charged with a first, second or third OWI in Indiana have found success working with a local attorney familiar with Indiana DUI laws. A lawyer can help build a defense and parse through dense legal paperwork.