Making mistakes is a part of being human and anyone is capable of errors in judgement, and even a few drinks can result in being arrested for a DUI
Indiana officially uses the term “operating while intoxicated” (OWI) instead of “driving under the influence” (DUI). However, some people still use DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated) to refer to drunk or drugged driving.
Indiana’s OWI laws prohibit all motorists from operating a vehicle:
- with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or more
- with any amount of a schedule I or II controlled substance in their system, or
- while actually intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.
The extensive list of controlled substances under the schedule I and II classifications includes opiates, hallucinogenic drugs, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine.
If you are charged with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) in Indiana, you can find yourself regretting a lapse of judgment for the rest of your life. People charged with OWI face the possible loss of motor vehicle privileges and the stigma of a criminal record.
Thankfully, your first offense is only a misdemeanor if the intoxication did not cause any injuries or harm. A misdemeanor has far less gravity in the legal system and is usually punished with fines or probation.
If you are facing OWI charges in the state of Indiana, it is critical to consult with an experienced OWI/DUI attorney as soon as possible. Hiring an OWI lawyer now can save you from a lifetime of negative legal consequences, especially if you believe that you are innocent of the charges.
The Probable Cause Needed for an OWI Arrest:
It is an unfortunate reality that drivers can be arrested for OWI even if the police fail to demonstrate that their BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) is over the legal limits. The legal limits for adults over the age of 21 is 0.08 percent BAC in Ind. If you are a commercial driver, the limit is 0.04 BAC percent even if you are driving a non-commercial vehicle at the time of the arrest.
The standards are even lower for drivers under the age of 21. They can be arrested if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is just 0.02 percent. The penalties for drivers who have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.15 percent are even more serious and are often compounded by testimony that the driver was swerving and driving recklessly.
The officers have the capacity to decide for themselves whether you are intoxicated by considering objective signs of intoxication, such as slovenly appearance, glassy eyes, bloodshot eyes, stumbling, lack of coordination, slurred speech, delayed physical reactions, and other factors. While these may not hold up in the trial court, the word of an arresting officer is given great weight. This type of analysis is necessary, however, because drivers can be intoxicated on compound substances and not just alcohol alone.
Criminal and Administrative Proceedings:
The OWI laws in Indiana are bifurcated. There is an administrative side that applies because motor vehicles are under the jurisdiction of the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). Drivers face a number of administrative penalties if they are convicted of drunk driving.
- Driver’s license suspension for as much as two years(or longer if there are multiple offenses)
- 2. Attendance at a substance abuse treatment program
- 3. Interlock ignition device that prevents starting a vehicle with alcohol use
The OWI laws overlap with criminal consequences. Criminal consequences are more serious and can affect you for a lifetime. Even for a Misdemeanor offense, you may be penalized in any or a combination of the following ways:
- Up to $5,000 in fines
- Payment of court costs and other fees
- Imprisonment for up to one year
Enhanced penalties exist for OWI under certain circumstances. These circumstances include:
1) OWI with a passenger under the age of 18 (Level 6 Felony)
2) OWI causing serious bodily injury to another person (Level 5 Felony)
3) OWI causing death to another person (Level 4 Felony)
4) OWI with BAC 0.15% or greater (Class A Misdemeanor)
In addition, a first-time offense DUI in Indiana has consequences for your future. If you are arrested again for drunk driving, the penalties for a second and subsequent convictions are increasingly harsh.
For non-first time offense DUI offenses in Indiana you could face additional serious consequences: a lengthy driver’s license suspension, potential enhanced sentencing penalties under the Habitual Offense Statute, mandatory jail time, and any new DUI offenses could be filed as felony offenses if you have a prior conviction for DUI within the last seven years.
Only a DUI/OWI attorney has the decades of experience to help you navigate the system. They know what works and can help you to highlight everything in your favor as a defense or mitigation.
The Yoder Kraus & Jessup P.C. law firm can provide you with an OWI/DUI lawyer who has years of experience dealing with all the nuances of these cases. An OWI attorney who has seen how the judges respond to different defenses and mitigations can formulate the best defense strategy. Yoder Kraus & Jessup P.C. has been assisting the NE Indiana area with their criminal defense matters for over 40 years.