Indiana DUI laws are, like in most states, strict. In Indiana, law enforcement officers refer to drunk driving as OWI, or operating a vehicle under the influence, instead of the usual driving under the influence (DUI).
Drivers in this state are subject to a look-back period of 5 and 10 years to assess their prior penalties relevant for sentencing. Indiana DUI laws need to be taken seriously as multiple offenses have severe penalties for the driver. Every one of the Indiana DUI laws put in place has been created to protect people on the road and behind the wheel.
Indiana DUI Laws
What Is the Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit?
In Indiana, there are three sections for BAC limits regarding the age of the driver and the vehicle being operated. For those under 21 years of age, any BAC over .02% is subject to a DUI/OWI. Anyone over 21 who has a BAC of .08% will receive a DUI/OWI. Also, for commercial drivers, they will receive a DUI/OWI if their blood alcohol content is above .04%.
What Happens if I Get Pulled Over?
When you are pulled over due to suspicion of driving while under the influence, the police officer will ask you to take a breath, blood, or urine test to determine your blood alcohol content. Failing the test can result in a license suspension of up to 180 days. Also, you will have to go to a court hearing which will determine if there is cause for a longer suspension and/or possible fine. Indiana DUI laws use these tests to determine how severe the punishment for the driver will be.
Can I Refuse the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Test?
Drivers who have been pulled over because of possible driving under the influence are allowed to refuse a BAC test. Under Indiana DUI laws, the officer can not legally force a driver to take one of the blood alcohol tests, but refusing a test can result in a much more severe penalty for the driver since it is an offense.
What Happens if I Refuse the BAC Test?
If a driver refuses to take a breath, blood, or urine test that will determine their blood alcohol levels, the police officer is required to take their driving license on the spot. Refusing a BAC test also results in an automatic license suspension of up to 2 years. This suspension can be lengthened during the court hearing if the driver is convicted of drunk driving. Overall it is better for the driver to take the test since they can possibly end up with a lesser penalty.
Can I Plead “Wet Reckless”?
Drivers in Indiana accused of driving under the influence are able to plead “wet reckless” usually as part of a plea deal that will reduce the case to reckless driving. According to Indiana DUI laws, there is no guarantee that this plea bargain will be accepted but a driver’s lawyer can still try. If a driver is convicted of “wet reckless” they have been convicted of reckless driving involving alcohol.
What Are The Penalties I Can Expect?
Penalties for Indiana drivers convicted of DUI get worse after each offense. Every time a driver refuses a blood alcohol content test, their license will get suspended for a longer period of time. Also, the driver can expect a considerable amount of fines including payments to the court and their lawyer. With every offense, these fines and other penalties increase, which can result in financial strain for the driver.
First Offense DUI
Indiana DUI laws state that drivers convicted of a DUI must face the penalties even if it is a first offense. For drivers who get their first conviction of a DUI in Indiana, they face a maximum one-year imprisonment along with probation that involves routine drug and alcohol tests. They also face a maximum $5,000 fine and court costs that start around $300. These drivers are additionally required to attend a victim impact panel and a substance abuse education course. All of these penalties come with a license suspension of up to 2 years.
Second Offense DUI
If a driver is convicted of a DUI for the second time, they face more penalties than before since Indiana counts this as a felony offense. These penalties include a maximum three-year jail sentence and fines up to $10,000 excluding court fees. Their license will be suspended for a minimum of 180 days and a maximum 2 years. In some cases, drivers with a second conviction of DUI in Indiana can also expect to receive community service requirements as part of their sentencing.
Third Offense DUI
For drivers in Indiana that get convicted of a third DUI, the state gives them even more serious penalties. Just like the second offense, convicted drivers face a maximum three-year jail sentence and up to $10,000 in fines. Their license will be suspended for a minimum 1 year and maximum 10 years.
For a third offense, drivers are required to have an Ignition Interlock device installed in their car. This device acts as a breathalyzer test to determine if the driver is sober enough to drive. If the device finds that the driver’s BAC is too high, it will not allow the car to start.
Additionally, if a driver has two prior offenses and gets into a car accident where there is a fatality, they can potentially lose their license for life.
Fourth Offense DUI
Anyone convicted of a fourth DUI offense in Indiana is subject to similar penalties to the third DUI offense. However, the penalties may be more severe.
Any person considering driving while under the influence should real consider the penalties. They are not only putting themselves at risk, they are risking the lives of everyone else on the road by getting behind the wheel.
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