If you’re looking for a firm that is capable of handling any type of criminal matter, contact Kammen & Moudy, LLC.
We have more than 50 years of experience handling a wide variety of criminal cases.

  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. OWI
  4.  » An OWI involving injury to another person is serious

An OWI involving injury to another person is serious

On Behalf of | May 27, 2024 | OWI |

Most people do not intend to drive while intoxicated; rather, they truly believe they did not drink enough to be impaired and that they are fine to drive. Many of these drivers find out the hard way that the law does not agree with that assessment.

Indiana residents charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI) face many serious penalties. These penalties only increase if your intoxicated driving caused an injury to someone else.

Even a first-offense OWI conviction in Indiana comes with major consequences, including a potential jail sentence of up to one year and possible fines of up to $1,000. Your license may also be suspended for up to two years and you might be put on probation with strict terms.

The situation only gets worse if you are charged with an OWI causing serious bodily injury. This is an automatic felony charge. To be found guilty, the prosecution must prove that you caused serious bodily injury to someone while driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol content at or above 0.08% or impaired by a controlled substance.

What is a serious bodily injury?

How do you know what constitutes a serious injury? The law defines a serious bodily injury as harm that causes extreme pain, the loss of a fetus, protracted use or impairment of the function of a body part or organ, a serious permanent disfigurement, a substantial risk of death or unconsciousness.

Examples of injuries that cause a substantial risk of death involve a victim being in the hospital for an extended period or being admitted to an intensive care unit.

The penalties for OWI causing serious bodily injury are heightened, with a mandatory minimum jail sentence of six months and potential prison time of over two years. Additionally, if you have prior OWI convictions on your record within the last five years, you could be imprisoned for up to six years.

Even worse, you could face separate criminal charges if you injure more than one person. With a separate criminal charge for each injured person, any sentences you receive could be consecutive. This means when you finish one sentence, another starts, rather than serving both sentences at the same time.

Exploring your defense options

There are potential defenses to a charge of OWI causing serious bodily injury. The prosecution must prove the other person was seriously injured. You can show that the injury is not as serious as the prosecutor claims.

Additionally, your intoxication could have come from taking a legally prescribed substance. There are also defenses involving any technical equipment used to test your intoxication. If you can show that the equipment was not set up properly, you can establish that the test results are not reliable.

A felony record from an OWI causing serious bodily injury can haunt you for the rest of your life, even after any prison sentences or probation periods are over.

Your criminal conviction could impact your ability to obtain employment or housing, receive federal loans, get or maintain a professional license or keep custody of your children.

Therefore, you need to put on a strong defense against a criminal charge. Kammen & Moody can examine the facts of your case and build a solid defense strategy.

FindLaw Network