Like every state in the nation, drunk driving charges are serious in Indiana, and can carry stiff penalties on conviction. In fact, a conviction can change an individual’s life by limiting their ability to go about their daily life or fulfill family or work responsibilities. A person’s criminal record, even for a misdemeanor conviction, can prevent them from seeking employment or housing.
What are Indiana’s OWI laws?
In Indiana, drunk driving is called operating while intoxicated (OWI) or driving under the influence (DUI), and the laws include strict penalties that become more severe with each additional charge. OWI laws also make it illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs.
The blood alcohol limit (BAC) in Indiana is 0.08%, and minimum penalties for a first offense are 90 days to two years license suspension or revocation. The zero tolerance BAC limit for underage drivers (under 21 years old) is 0.02% and is punishable by a Class C infraction or fine of up to $500.
The penalties for a first offense when the BAC level is above 0.08%:
- for a BAC of 0.08 to 0.15%, a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and fines of up to $500,
- for a BAC of 0.15% or above, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and fines of up to $5,000,
- for an OWI as an adult with at least one passenger under 18 years of age, a Level 6 felony punishable by incarceration from six months to two and a half years and fines of up to $10,000,
with penalties compounded with repeat offenses. An OWI that has caused a death or serious bodily injury is also a Level 6 felony, and a second offense, even if no injury or death resulted, is upgraded to a Level 5 felony.
How do I fight the charges?
When the arresting officer pulls someone over initially, they at that point do not have any hard evidence to be able to file charges. If there were any irregularities to the arrest or search procedures, the officer may have violated the individual’s constitutional rights. Field sobriety tests are not always accurate, and the results of chemical tests can be questioned.
The criminal justice system can be intimidating, so for Indiana residents, it is crucial to know where to turn if you are facing OWI charges. The law firm of Kammen & Moudy, serving the Indianapolis community, can offer you the experienced support you need to fight the charges and minimize the damage done to your life.