Although DUI or OWI charges and penalties are the same statewide, every county court handles these charges a little bit differently. As a result, the procedures and penalties that you can expect when you are facing first time DUI charges can vary significantly from one county to another. Here is what you can expect when you are charged with a first-time DUI offense in Wayne County, Indiana.
In Wayne County, you have two options for resolving an OWI charge:
- Serve seven days in the Wayne County Jail, OR
- Complete the “OWIP” or “Operating While Intoxicated Program,” which is a lengthy intensive treatment program at a local facility that provides rehabilitation services.
These are the ONLY options that the Wayne County court will accept for resolving a first-time OWI case. As a result, if you are facing DUI charges, you will have to make some hard decisions about which option will have the least impact on your life.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Participating in OWIP
For many people, getting a DUI is their first and only experience with the criminal justice system. As a result, you may assume that participating in OWIP is better than spending any time in jail. Depending on your circumstances, however, OWIP may not be the most beneficial choice for you.
First, OWIP generally requires at least two hours of substance treatment per week for at least three months or 12 weeks. This is a substantial commitment, and if you fail to fully participate in the program as directed, you risk further sanctions from the court, including jail time.
Second, OWIP comes at a cost. You must pay a $100 deposit to enter the program and $25 per week for 12 weeks to participate in the program. You also will need to bear the cost of traveling back and forth to the treatment program, which can be significant if you live in another county or state.
Third, you will NOT have a valid driver’s license or specialized driving privileges while you are participating in OWIP. As a result, you will need reliable transportation to participate in OWIP each week. If you are employed or attending school, you also will need reliable transportation for those purposes during this 12-week period. If you live some distance from the treatment facility, your job, or your school, having no ability to drive for at least 12 weeks could place you in an impossible situation. This is a particular challenge for individuals who live in counties other than Wayne County, as the court will hold you to the same standards as residents of Wayne County.
Finally, you will be on probation while you are attending the 12-week treatment program. Being on probation comes with its own costs, regularly reporting to a probation officer, being subject to random drug and alcohol testing, and other requirements.
Choosing to Go to Jail on a DUI Charge
Spending seven days in jail may not be enjoyable, for some people, it makes the most sense. If you need your license back as quickly as possible so that you can keep your job or remain enrolled in school, then it may make more sense to simply do the jail time. You can get your license reinstated or get specialized driving privileges much more quickly if you serve the jail time instead of participating in OWIP.
You also likely will not be subject to any further penalties once you have completed your jail term. You may not have to worry about reporting to a probation officer or paying probation fees for the next 12 months.
Specialized Driving Privileges
A DUI charge typically results in automatic suspension of your license by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). You can receive a license suspension of up to two years for a first-time OWI in Indiana. The only way that you can legally operate a motor vehicle while your license is suspended is by getting specialized driving privileges. As noted above, if you are participating in OWIP, you will not be eligible to ask for specialized driving privileges for at least 12 weeks, in addition to any time that has passed until the court sentences you to probation and OWIP participation.
When you are facing DUI charges, you must request specialized driving privileges in the initial paperwork that you file with the court. Otherwise, you must wait until your DUI case is resolved to ask for specialized driving privileges, which can take months. This leaves you with no ability to drive for a potentially lengthy time period.
Call the Law Offices of Jeffrey T. Arnold to Get the Advice You Need
Getting prompt legal advice in a DUI case can be crucial to your driving privileges and the outcome of your case. Learn about your options when facing OWI charges in Wayne County, Indiana, and get help deciding which alternative is best for you and your family. Contact Arnold Law Office today at 765-962-3344 or 866-958-5995 and schedule an appointment about your case.