What drivers should know about Indiana OWI laws

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Operating a vehicle while intoxicated can result in serious criminal penalties in Indiana. The state imposes OWI charges for drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher. The limit is 0.02% for drivers younger than 21.

Understanding the laws about OWI in Indiana can inform your next steps after an arrest of this kind.

License suspension

You can lose your driver’s license for a period from 90 days to two years for a first-time OWI. A second OWI carries a 180-day to two-year license suspension. For a third offense, Indiana can suspend your license for one to ten years. In most cases, you can apply for a restricted license that allows you to travel to school and work.

Additional penalties

Indiana courts can also impose fines and jail time for OWI convictions. You can get a $500 fine for an arrest with BAC between 0.02% and 0.08%, even if you are of legal drinking age.

A first-time OWI can result in 60 days in jail along with a fine of up to $500. The state increases penalties for BAC above 0.15%. In this case, you could receive up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Some Indiana OWIs carry a mandatory minimum of six months in jail. This may apply to a second OWI within five years of the first conviction, an OWI incident that kills a law enforcement animal or seriously injures a person.

Drivers may be able to seek treatment for substance use disorder after an OWI charge. However, Indiana does not mandate addiction screening and treatment for people convicted of drinking and driving.