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What You Should Know About OWI in Indiana

What You Should Know About OWI in Indiana

A person driving with more than .08 grams of alcohol in their breath or blood can be charged for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). A person driving with a controlled substance in their system without a valid prescription can also be charged with OWI. Even with a valid prescription, if your own drugs caused you to be intoxicated, you can still be charged with OWI.

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What Is the Definition of “Intoxicated”?

The legal definition of “Intoxicated” in Indiana is someone who is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or other substances “so that there is an impaired condition of thought and action and the loss of normal control of a person’s faculties.”

What Happens If I’m Arrested for OWI?

If police stop you for OWI, remember, you do not have to submit to field sobriety tests. However, you must submit to a chemical breath test if one is requested by the police officer. Failure to submit to such a test will result in an automatic one or two-year license suspension.

If you fail a chemical breath or blood test and are charged with OWI, the court will notify the Indiana BMV and your license to drive will automatically be suspended by the BMV for six months from the date of your initial hearing before the court.

A first time OWI in Indiana is generally charged as a Class C Misdemeanor. You may be subjected to up to 60 days in jail and fined up to $500. However, aspects such as whether you endangered a person or drove with a BAC over .15 can increase these penalties

If I'm Guilty, Will I Go to Jail?

If this is your first OWI, and no one was injured, you will almost certainly not go back to jail. On the second, and successive OWIs, there is an Indiana statute that requires jail time or a large amount of community service. You will also face the possibility of a longer jail sentence, work release or home detention if you have several OWIs.

Will I Lose My Drivers License?

Yes, and maybe not. If you failed a breath test, the court will notify the BMV which will automatically suspend your license for 6 months. If you attend your initial hearing, request a stay of the suspension, and file a petition for specialized driving privileges within 10 days of the hearing, you may be able to retain your right to drive in the course of your employment.

How Long Will My Driver's License Suspension Last?

The BMV suspends your license for 6 months upon notice of a chemical test (breathalyzer) failure. Depending on how quickly you resolve your case, you can limit that to as little as 60 days in most counties. If you have more than one OWI, you face a suspension of a year or more.

Can I Get a Permit to Drive To and From Work?

This is now called specialized driving privileges. You can file a petition for SDP within 10 days of your initial hearing. You must then attend a hearing and prove to the court that you’re entitled and need specialized driving privileges. If granted, SDP lasts a minimum of 180 days.

What is the Difference Between OWI and DUI in Indiana?

In the state of Indiana, drunk/impaired driving is referred to as OWI (Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated). What primarily differentiates OWI from DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is the first word, operating. Simply operating a vehicle can mean the act of turning it on and doesn't necessarily need to mean driving. A person operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or substances may be charged with OWI in Indiana.

You need to act fast if you have been charged for OWI and want to save your license. Call today to schedule a free consultation with an attorney at Stoesz & Stoesz, LLC.

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