Recently on our DUI forum a user asked, “I was arrested for my second Indiana OWI last night. My first conviction was three years ago. I am wondering what penalties I may receive if I am convicted and will I be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony?”
What is an Indiana OWI?
Indiana OWI is outlined in Indiana law section § 9-30-5 Operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Under this law, Indiana drivers may be found guilty of operating while intoxicated if they are operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicants with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher.
Drivers may also be found guilty of OWI if they are unable to safely operate their vehicle with any level of alcohol in their blood, and the state has sufficient evidence to determine they were endangering others.
Should I plead guilty to my Indiana OWI charge?
Before pleading guilty to a second Indiana OWI charge it’s important to understand the legal ramifications. Not only do you face potentially high fines and severe penalties, the second driving offense can be classified as a Class D felony, assuming it occurs within 5 years of another Indiana OWI conviction. For this reason, it’s important to talk to an Indiana OWI lawyer before making any legal decisions.
Other OWI penalties you might face for an Indiana OWI include the following:
- Jail time of 10 days up to 3 years
- Fines of $10,000
- Community service up to 350 hours (community service may be offered in lieu of jail or in combination with jail)
- Mandatory alcohol evaluation and treatment program
- License suspension for 180 days up to 2 years
- Ignition interlock device may be required with a restricted license
- Mandatory purchase of SR-22 insurance with reinstatement of your driver’s license
- $225 license reinstatement fee
Administrative license suspension
Indiana drivers have given their implied consent to submit to a chemical test if they are arrested for OWI. Drivers who refuse to submit to the test will face an automatic one year license suspension for the first test refusal. Refusing to submit to the test a second time will result in a 2 year license suspension without the right to request a restricted driver’s license.
Drivers may request an administrative hearing to challenge the administrative license suspension within 10 days of their DUI arrest by contacting the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). Drivers who do not challenge their suspension and win at their administrative hearing will face an automatic suspension. The license suspension will also stand regardless of whether the driver is ultimately found not guilty of OWI in their criminal case.
Other considerations after an Indiana OWI
The penalties and fines are not the only consideration of an OWI conviction in Indiana. Drivers should also discuss their OWI case with an Indiana OWI lawyer to ensure they understand the long-term ramifications of an Indiana OWI conviction. For example, employment options may be limited after a conviction, and some convictions can never be expunged from the driver’s driving record.
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