Handling a DUI (or OWI, as it is often referred to in Indiana) charge can be challenging and overwhelming, especially if it’s your first offense. In Indiana courts, driving under the influence (DUI) charges should not be taken lightly. Although classified as a misdemeanor for the first offense, these carry serious penalties that can significantly impact your life.

Understanding DUI laws and penalties in Indiana is essential in dealing with this situation.

Overview of DUI/OWI Laws in Indiana

In the State of Indiana, you are in violation of OWI laws if you are operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Commercial drivers have an even lower limit set at 0.04%. This is Indiana’s DUI per se law.

This means once your BAC reaches these specified legal limits while behind the wheel – even if your driving is safe and you’ve made no mistakes – it’s a DUI no matter what. Further proof of your physical or mental impairment isn’t required for prosecution.

Additionally, it’s crucial to note that even if your BAC does not reach the 0.08% threshold under per se laws, you can still face arrest and conviction if a police officer can prove impairment. The officer has to gather evidence suggesting you were incapable of driving safely due to intoxication, which could include observations about your behavior, erratic driving patterns, or traffic violations. 

Indiana First Offense OWI Penalties

If it’s your first time being arrested for a DUI in Indiana, you face severe penalties, even with the less serious classification of a misdemeanor charge:

  • A driver’s license suspension of at least 180 days up to 2 years, depending on the circumstances
  • Fines of up to $500 if your BAC was between 0.08 and 0.15
  • Fines of up to $5,000 if your BAC was at least 0.15
  • Jail time is unlikely, but you could face up to 1 year, depending on the circumstances 
  • Community service
  • Drug and alcohol abuse assessment and treatment
  • Ignition interlock device installation in some cases

Considering the penalties for a first-offense DUI in Indiana, it’s crucial to proceed carefully. Having legal representation can help you navigate these circumstances more efficiently and effectively.

Collateral Consequences of a First-Time DUI Conviction

In addition to criminal penalties you face for a first-time OWI conviction, there are other collateral consequences that can have a significant impact on your life, including:  

Employment Challenges 

A DUI conviction shows up on employment background checks, which can be problematic when you’re looking for a job, as most potential employers run these checks before extending an offer of employment. This could give pause to whether or not they want to hire you, severely limiting job opportunities going forward. 

Professional Licensing 

If your profession necessitates special licensing – for example, doctors, lawyers, or real estate agents – a DUI can threaten your job, as some crediting bodies refuse to issue licenses or may revoke current ones based on such convictions. 

Housing Difficulties

Similarly, any criminal conviction can also lead to issues with housing. Most rental agencies and landlords perform criminal background checks on prospective tenants, and a DUI conviction could make renting more challenging, sometimes leading to application denials.

Social Stigma

A DUI arrest or conviction can significantly affect your personal and social life. It could result in feelings of shame or embarrassment while also painting you negatively in the eyes of family, friends, and community members who come to know about it – regardless of how the case concludes. 

Effects on Mental Health

Additionally, the potential impact on your mental health can be significant. Facing DUI charges can be a highly stressful experience that triggers anxiety and depression. The stress of impending court dates, financial worries from fines or lost job opportunities, concerns about stigma among family and friends – all these issues can weigh heavily on your mind.

Dealing with the realities of a first-time DUI/OWI conviction in Indiana can be extremely overwhelming. Knowing what to expect and getting help becomes imperative. For assistance with your case, you need an experienced attorney who will guide you through this unsettling time. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a DUI defense lawyer here.

Contact our Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys

For more information, contact the criminal defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC. Give us a call today at (317) 759-2599 or visit us at our Indianapolis law office.

Suhre & Associates, LLC – Indianapolis
101 W Ohio St #2000
Indianapolis, In 46204
United States