Being arrested for a DUI, or driving while under the influence, or an OWI, or operating while intoxicated, can be embarrassing, especially if you have never been arrested before. However, once you get over the initial shock of being in a police car and finding yourself behind bars, you may find yourself wondering what happens next. Learning what happens after your first DUI arrest in Indiana can help you to better prepare yourself for what is to come. Here is some information you may need to know if you are arrested for a DUI in Indiana.
Indiana DUI and OWI Laws
In the state of Indiana, there is not a DUI charge. All charges fall under OWI or operating while intoxicated. This includes both alcohol and drugs. In the state of Indiana, there is a zero-tolerance law for individuals who are under the age of 21. It is illegal for someone under the age of 21 to be operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .02 percent or higher. For individuals that are 21 or older, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. Indiana’s OWI laws also prohibit individuals from operating a motor vehicle with any amount of a schedule I or II controlled substances in their system. The list of controlled substances is extensive and can include both prescription drugs and street drugs. Some of the notable drugs in this system include opiates, hallucinogenic drugs, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana. If you are taking prescription medications, ask your doctor if the medication is a schedule I or II controlled substance.
Criminal and Administrative Penalties
If you are convicted of operating while under the influence, you face many criminal and administrative penalties, even for your first offense. You face up to a $500 fine for a first DUI offense with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 to 0.14 percent and up to a $5,000 fine if your blood alcohol content is 0.15 percent or above. You face 30 to 60 days in jail for a first time OWI offense, and up to a year in jail if your blood alcohol content was 0.15 percent or higher.
Your driver’s license can be suspended for anywhere from 90 days to two years. However, the courts may grant an execution of suspension and grant restricted driving privileges after just 30 days. If you refuse a chemical test, you automatically lose your license for a year. The courts may also order you to have an ignition interlock in your vehicle. If the courts deem necessary, you may also be required to participate in a possible alcohol or drug abuse assessment and undergo appropriate treatment and/or attend a victim impact panel pertaining to drunk or impaired driving. Finally, you will be required to obtain SR22 insurance, which can be very expensive.
It is important to note that these penalties only pertain to initial OWI charges for class A or class C misdemeanors. If you had a passenger under the age of 18 in the vehicle when you were arrested for OWI, if you caused bodily injury to someone or if you killed someone, you are facing a class C or D felony, and penalties can be more severe. The penalties for drunk driving also increase if this is your second or third drunk driving conviction.
If you are convicted of an OWI, you may be curious about the penalties the courts impose on you. However, these are not the only penalties or obstacles you may face if you are found guilty of an OWI. If you are found guilty, you will have a criminal record. This criminal record can preclude you from traveling to certain countries, such as Canada. Having an OWI on your record can also prevent you from working certain jobs or independent contractor positions, such as working as a truck driver, working as a delivery driver, or working for rideshare companies and food delivery services. Lastly, if you are looking to rent a home or an apartment, your criminal record can be checked. You may be denied housing simply because you have a drunk driving conviction on your record. An OWI carries many penalties with it that can directly impact your life.
What to Do After Getting Arrested for Your First DUI?
After you have been arrested for your first OWI in the state of Indiana, it is important to reach out to an attorney immediately. Indiana has a unique law that allows an attorney to request a hearing with the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, or BMV, to help save your driver’s license after an OWI offense. However, the catch to this is that this request can only be made within 10 days of being arrested for OWI. If a hearing is not requested, you lose your right to request this hearing.
Additionally, it is important to talk to an attorney quickly so that they can gather the facts surrounding your arrest. They can get to work trying to defend you against the charges you are facing, working to get the charges against you dismissed or thrown out or even working on getting you a plea deal. In the state of Indiana, some OWI charges may get reduced to a wet reckless charge if you agree to plead guilty. A wet reckless charge carries less penalties compared to an OWI charge, and you do not lose your license with a wet reckless charge.
If you have been charged with an OWI, it is important to hire an Indiana attorney who has experience with these types of charges as quickly as possible. Here at Trapp Law, LLC, our criminal lawyers can help you with a first, second, or even third OWI case. We work hard to defend your rights. Contact us today in Indianapolis, IN for a free consultation.