Indiana OWI Law
In the state of Indiana, driving a vehicle while under the influence is a crime. The penalties you face as a DUI offender can make your life difficult and attach a stigma to your name because of your new criminal record. The loss of driving privileges accompanying a DUI offense in Indiana can also make it difficult to meet your work and family obligations. With all of the consequences of a DUI offense, the best thing to do would be to avoid driving after consuming alcohol. If you weren’t able to do this, and you have been charged with an OWI, contacting an Indiana DUI attorney can help you to plan your defense and work your way through the legal proceedings as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Indiana OWI Laws
Indiana DUI law makes it possible to be prosecuted in two ways for drunk driving. If your driving ability has been impaired because you consumed alcohol, you can be charged with an OWI offense. In this case, you would be arrested and prosecuted based on your level impairment. Prosecutors may rely on testimony from law enforcement officials who witnessed your appearance and noticed bloodshot eyes or the smell of alcohol on our breath. Dangerous driving habits can also help prosecutors prove a case under the impairment theory. You can also be charged with OWI if chemical testing reveals that your blood alcohol concentration level exceeds the legal limit of 0.08%. In this case, you can be prosecuted based on the chemical testing results, even if officials saw nothing to indicate that you were impaired in any way. Indiana OWI law also allows for penalty enhancements when a person’s blood alcohol concentration level exceeds .15%. If you have been arrested and charged with an OWI offense, hiring an Indiana DUI lawyer can help you to present the best possible defense for your case and minimize the impact of any penalties that are imposed if you are convicted.
Indiana Chemical Testing
Indiana’s OWI laws are rather unique when compared with the DUI laws of other states in terms of chemical testing. In Indiana, the person suspected of driving under the influence has no choice of what chemical test to take. The law enforcement officer on the case can select a blood, urine, or breath test to determine the blood alcohol concentration level in the person’s blood. Indiana drivers who are asked to submit to chemical testing do not have the right to get legal counsel before taking the chemical test chosen by the law enforcement officer. Because of this strict rule, it is imperative that you have a skilled Indiana DUI lawyer by your side when you face your criminal charges and any license suspension proceedings conducted by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Having a qualified Indiana DUI attorney can help you to navigate the legal system successfully to win your case or minimize the penalties that you face if a conviction takes place.
Indiana OWI Criminal and Administrative Penalties
The criminal and administrative penalties for OWI in Indiana can include any combination of incarceration, fines, license suspension, and other penalties designed to discourage offenders from accumulating any repeat offenses. When you are arrested for OWI, the arresting officer will confiscate your driver’s license. You can apply for a duplicate license by contacting the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and filing any necessary paperwork. This duplicate license will come in handy if you need to prove your identity and don’t have your original license because it has been confiscated. Once your license has been suspended by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, then the duplicate license is not valid for driving or identification purposes.
The criminal penalties for driving under the influence increase with each offense. Having prior offenses can make the penalties imposed on you very difficult to comply with and still be able to meet your family and work obligations. First offenses result in probation, fines, payment of court costs, and license suspension. Some courts will require jail time, especially if the offense involved a chemical testing level of .15% or greater. Second offenses may result in jail time, probation, working with a road crew, higher fines, and payment of court costs. A second DUI may be charged as a felony and reduced at a later date. Third DUI offenses can result in a number of stringent consequences. If you have had prior convictions within a 10-year period, you are eligible to be branded with a habitual violator status. If this is the case, you will lose your license for 10 years, face three to nine months in jail, and have a long probation period. You may also have to attend drug and alcohol court.
There are also administrative driver’s license penalties for OWI in Indiana. Failing a chemical test results in a 180 day suspension and refusing to submit to a chemical test results in a one year license suspension. A refusal to take a chemical test also makes you ineligible for receiving any type of hardship permit at any point during your license suspension. Pleading guilty is actually the easiest way to deal with the suspension of your license. A guilty plea often allows offenders to choose a 90-day license suspension with high risk insurance. An offender may also choose a 30-day license suspension, followed by a 180 day probationary period where the only type of driving allowed is for work, medical appointments, or similar situations. You may not have to get the high risk insurance if you choose the probationary period of 180 days. If you want to save your driver’s license, you must file a lawsuit in circuit court and fight to save your driving privileges.
Repeat offenses are penalized depending on the time period and the number of the offense committed. If your most recent conviction was less than five years from your last conviction, the minimum license suspension period is one year. If the conviction is more than five years but less than ten years from the last conviction, the penalty is a 180 day suspension. If your most recent conviction is more than ten years from your last conviction, the minimum suspension period is 90 days. All of these suspension periods are minimums; they may be increased when other circumstances are considered. Having an Indiana DUI attorney on your side in an Indiana OWI case can help you to gather the information you need to beat the charges against you or minimize the penalties imposed if a conviction is obtained against you.