In Indiana, DUI, or driving under the influence, is typically referred to as OWI, or operating while intoxicated. For practical purposes, however, these abbreviations all refer to the same criminal offense.
I.C. § 9-30-5-1 makes it illegal for individuals to operate motor vehicles when they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more. This offense is normally a Class C misdemeanor offense, but it becomes a Class A misdemeanor if the driver's BAC measures 0.15% or more, or if the driver operates the vehicle in a way that endangers another person.
However, the minimum BAC levels for some drivers are even more stringent. Drivers under the age of 21 commit DUI when their BAC measures 0.02% or more. For drivers who are over age 21 and have a commercial driver's license (CDL), the threshold BAC to be charged with a DUI offense is 0.04% or more.
Potential Penalties for DUI in Indiana
For a first DUI conviction, you could receive:
· A jail sentence of up to one year
· Penalties and fines ranging from $500 to $5,000
· License suspension for up to one year
For those with prior DUI convictions, the penalties are harsher. A second DUI conviction can result in jail time ranging from 5 days to 2 ½ years, fines up to $10,000, and a license suspension of 1 to 2 ½ years. A third DUI conviction can lead to a sentence of incarceration of between 10 days and 2 ½ years, plus an additional 8 years if the prosecutor chooses to file a habitual substance offender enhancement, as well as up to $10,000 in fines and a license suspension ranging from 1 to 10 years.
Other consequences of a DUI conviction may include your required attendance at an alcohol or substance abuse education program, a mandatory drug and alcohol assessment, court costs, and the costs of installing and maintaining an ignition interlock device on any vehicle that you drive.
Driver's License Suspensions and DUI
For a first-time DUI arrest, you will receive an automatic 30-day license suspension if your BAC is over 0.08%. However, Indiana has an implied consent law regarding chemical testing for drivers suspected of DUI. This means that if a police officer requests that a driver undergo a roadside breathalyzer test to measure his or her BAC, and the driver refuses to take the test, then he or she is automatically subject to a one-year driver's license suspension. A subsequent BAC test refusal will lead to an automatic two-year suspension.
If a court also imposes a court-ordered license suspension as part of a sentence for DUI, the two suspension periods do not run concurrently, or at the same time. A judge can order a license suspension for up to one year as a result of a DUI conviction. As a result, the two suspension periods run consecutively, which means that your license theoretically could remain suspended for a maximum of two years.
Call a Wayne County DUI Lawyer for Help
When you are facing DUI/OWI charges, the stakes are high and the potential penalties for a conviction are harsh. At Arnold Law Office, we know that a DUI conviction can adversely affect your personal life, your career, and your future. Contact our office today at 765-962-3344 or 866-958-5995 and schedule an appointment to meet with us today.