OWI laws in Indiana are enforced strictly and fairly. Understanding the Indiana OWI laws and penalties to know how long a DUI stays on your record is vital information for any legal proceedings and appearances for potential future employment opportunities. Let’s look at what you need to know about operating while intoxicated (OWI) in Indiana and how long your license might be affected.
Indiana OWI Laws
In Indiana, driving under the influence is “operating while intoxicated” (OWI). A few people still use DUI and DWI to refer to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Two types of drug-related OWI (often known as “driving under the influence of drugs” or “DUID”) exist in Indiana: per se and impairment-based.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUID) is a person who has lost their ability to think or behave rationally. It doesn’t matter what medication you’re taking; a prescription isn’t a legal defense in a DUII case. When determining whether a person is impaired, the court may consult blood testing and expert views on drug interactions. Prosecutors may call the arresting officer to testify about any evidence that the driver was under the influence of marijuana or another drug at the time of the traffic stop.
If a driver has a measurable quantity of a controlled substance in their system, they may be charged with DUID per se. Medically prescribed medications such as oxycodone, cannabis, heroin, and other prescription opioids, are all included on the list. If a driver had a valid prescription for the medication in question and took it as prescribed, they will have a legal defense.
It is against the law in Indiana to drive while under the influence of a schedule I or II controlled substance or when intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. This is outlined in the state’s OWI statute. As the name suggests, the BAC measures how much alcohol is present in someone’s bloodstream. A high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) could worsen the already severe penalties of a DUI.
Opioids aren’t the only drugs included in the schedules I and II categories; hallucinogens, methamphetamine, and cocaine are all. A further “zero tolerance” law prevents anybody under 21 from operating a car while intoxicated.
Blood and breath tests are the most often used methods by police to establish a suspect’s blood alcohol content. As a result of the potential for discomfort and even fear of needles, many drivers refuse to have blood drawn. Some people, such as those with hemophilia, cannot undergo blood tests because of their medical conditions.
Indiana OWI Penalties
According to the facts of each case, OWI penalties in Indiana can range from a fine to a jail term. However, the defendant’s prior criminal record significantly impacts the range of sentences that a judge can impose. Those convicted of OWI in Indiana face a lifetime ban from the roads. If the offender has been convicted of a felony within five years, the OWI becomes a felony.
The implied consent law in Indiana presumes that a driver has consented to a chemical test of their breath, blood, urine specimen, or any biological material if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have committed an OWI infraction. The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles will revoke a driver’s license if an OWI suspect refuses or fails a chemical test.
Possible penalties for a Class A misdemeanor conviction include one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. A first conviction for OWI is a category 6 felony if the defendant is at least 21 years old, has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15 percent or more, or drove dangerously.
A previous OWI conviction and refusal to submit to an OWI breath test may result in a 180-day suspension. A second-time OWI offender must undergo an evaluation to determine their use of alcohol or drugs. If found essential, the defendant may be forced to attend treatment for substance use disorder. A defendant with a history of alcoholism must engage in an alcoholism treatment program.
At least one prior OWI conviction will result in a 180-day OWI sentence, and refusal to submit to an OWI test will result in a two-year OWI sentence. A third OWI conviction would be a class 5 felony if the person’s prior OWI conviction resulted in death or serious bodily harm. For a level 5 offense, a prison sentence of one to six years and a fine of up to $10,000 are conceivable. Third-time OWI offenders are forced to undergo alcohol and drug screening and treatment. They must also pay for programs and expenses that affect victims.
Indiana’s penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) are harsh. A conviction will likely result in a driver’s license suspension and significant fines. But sometimes, a charge will result in even more severe consequences, especially if this is your second DUI in Indiana.
There are many benefits to hiring a professional DUI attorney in Indianapolis. An experienced attorney will be familiar with the DUI laws in Indiana and will be able to provide excellent legal representation. They will also be familiar with the local court system and can navigate the complex legal process. A DUI attorney will also be able to negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf and will fight to get the best possible outcome for your case.