Drunk driving laws vary from state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Indiana drunk driving laws state that the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08 percent. What many people seem to forget is that long before the legal BAC limit is reached, driving ability is affected. By consuming as little as one alcoholic drink, a driver’s reaction time, vision, comprehension, and attention span can be adversely affected.
Indiana’s Legal Limits
In the state of Indiana, if your BAC is 0.08 percent or higher, you are over the legal limit. Drivers with a commercial operator’s license have a lower limit of 0.04 percent. If you are twenty-one or younger, the limit is lower still at 0.02 percent.
Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) Charges
If a court finds you guilty of operating while intoxicated (OWI), there are severe criminal penalties.
For first-time offenders, you will be out-of-pocket for the fees and court costs, which usually run $300 and up. Financial penalties can be as high as $5,000 with imprisonment for as long as a year. License suspensions usually last for two years, while also being subjected to mandatory alcohol and drug testing at designated times.
Offenders will also attend a mandatory substance abuse education class and a victim-impact panel. In some cases, a probationary license is granted after serving thirty days of the initial suspension. Another possible penalty stipulation is the installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle; this will measure your BAC every time you are about to drive, and if the device has an over-the-limit reading, the engine will not start.
There is also the possibility of serving jail time and additional fines.
Repeat offenders who have been charged and convicted of multiple OWIs face harsher fines and criminal penalties with each conviction. The state of Indiana has a habitual offender law that targets drivers with repeat OWI offenses, and this law also affects single OWI offenders with a BAC of over 0.15 percent. Each offense increases the suspension period, and with a third offense, you can lose your license for up to ten years.
If you cause another person’s death while driving with a BAC of over 0.08 percent, the charge is elevated to a Class C felony; the penalty for this includes serving jail time for up to eight years and paying up to $10,000 in fines. A life-long license loss is faced by those with two major offenses of BAC over 0.08 percent causing injury or death.
Hiring an OWI Lawyer
Driving impaired is no joke, and the severe consequences faced by those found guilty reflect the seriousness with which it is regarded by the legal system. The state of Indiana does have some harsher penalties than other states when it comes to OWIs, especially those of repeat offenders or those causing injury or death.
Hiring a Terre Haute DUI lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced in defending OWI cases can minimize the potential life-long consequences faced by offenders. In addition to egregious insurance cost increases, drivers convicted of OWI can pay harsh fines, serve jail time, and lose their license indefinitely.
Think about how not having a driver’s license could affect your chances of obtaining gainful employment. If you or someone you care about has been found guilty of an OWI in Indiana, the first step should be approaching an OWI lawyer to assess and defend your case.
Indiana drunk driving laws are known to carry harsher penalties than some other states. So when faced with the choice to drink and drive, or find other means of transportation, consider the risks and potential consequences you could feel for the rest of your life. Whether you are a first-time or repeat-offender, hiring an OWI lawyer is a necessity when it comes to moving forward in the most positive way possible.