In Indiana, as in most states, the practice of drunk driving is referred to by the common term DUI, even though the actual legal term is OWI (operating while intoxicated). If you’re facing an OWI charge and you’re not stressed about it, you’re in a small minority. A conviction of OWI is a serious matter which can bring jail time, court fees and large fines up to $5000 for the first offense, and loss of your driving rights. The penalties are particularly punitive and the laws are aggressively enforced. This is a time when you need a crack legal team on your side with extensive DUI / OWI experience. Because laws today are so complex and entwined, most attorneys settle on a special field of practice, be it criminal law, real estate, probate or another field. DUI Defense Law is a specialty area of law practice, as determined by the American Bar Association. You should not consider entering a court room without a qualified Indiana DUI attorney by your side. The stakes are too high. Get a free consultation right away from a local DUI attorney.
You can be charged with OWI two different ways in Indiana. The peace officer can determine that you are unable to safely control your vehicle because you’re impaired, or you can be charged under Indiana’s “per se” law, which has a BAC (blood alcohol content) threshold of .08. Note that the first method has nothing to do with your BAC level, and the second has nothing to do with your driving. With either method, you will be asked to take a breath, blood or urine test to determine your BAC level. Indiana is unique in that the officer gets to choose which type of test to administer to you. If you refuse the test, you will be faced with additional license suspension time from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
The BMV is the governing body which will ultimately control your license suspension, reinstatement, revocation, and points on your license. You must request a hearing with them within 10 days or you’ll automatically face suspension. Concurrent with the BMV case, you’ll go to trial in criminal court. The court will administrate jail time, fines and court fees, any alcohol or drug assessment or education programs, as well as license suspensions. It is possible to get two different driver’s license suspensions from the two bodies. Contact a DUI attorney today for a free consultation about your case.
If you are arrested outside your home state, be sure to ask your attorney how this law will impact you.
The penalties listed below are called for by statute, are not complete, and can often be reduced significantly or even eliminated with the assistance of a local Indiana DUI attorney.
• Incarceration – no mandatory minimum, up to 60 days for BAC under .14; up to 365 for higher BAC
• Fines – no mandatory minimum, up to $500 for BAC under .14; up to $5,000 for higher BAC
• License Suspension – 90 days to 2 years from court case, 180 days for test failure, 1 year for test refusal from administrative case; must pay $130 reinstatement fee
• Insurance – SR22 high risk policy required for 3 years
• Hardship License – possible after 30 days suspension with SR22; not available for test refusal
• Community Service – as offered by court in lieu of 0 to 60 days of jail sentence
ADDITIONAL COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES
• Bail – set by the court, required before being released after being arrested
• Towing and Impound - towing fee approximately $100 plus additional daily storage fees
• DUI School – at your expense
• Insurance – as a designated “high risk” driver, your rates will be raised significantly by your insurance company, possibly even doubling for several years.
• Record – DUI conviction will remain on driving record permanently, and visible to all 45 states in the NDLC
• Employment – offender may lose time off work and possibly even their job.
• Immigration and travel – restrictions can apply with certain convictions
• Vehicle – possible vehicle seizure and forfeiture
Additional offenses will bring significantly higher penalties, up to 8 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Don’t take a chance with your freedom. It is highly recommended that you contact a qualified local DUI attorney right away for a FREE CONSULTATION on your case. It is possible your case can be won with the right representation.