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DUI Defined Under Indiana Law

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. 

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Richmond, IN 47374

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