In Indiana, as well as the rest of the United States, the penalties for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) are severe. Everyone processes alcohol differently, and what make one person feel merely tipsy, may make another completely intoxicated. The fact that many people fail to notice is that once you feel the alcohol, even slightly, you are probably already over the legal limit to drive.
Your chances of being in an accident increases with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .04%. This is only half the legal limit in Indiana. When your BAC reaches .06%, still under the legal limit, your chances of being involved in a crash are double those of a sober driver. When your BAC hits .08%, the legal limit in Indiana, you are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash.
If your BAC is .08% or higher, Indiana considers you legally drunk. If you’re a commercial driver, that number drops to .04%. And if you’re under 21, the limit is only .02%. When suspected of OWI, a police officer will administer a test to determine your BAC. You may refuse to take this test, but your license will be revoked on the spot, and possibly suspended for one year.
If the test shows that your BAC exceeds the legal limit, you will lose your license for up to 180 days. This happens even before you go to court. If you are convicted of OWI, you can lose your license for another 90 days or up to two years. You may also face jail time and fines. Don’t try to fight an OWI arrest without an Indiana DUI defense attorney. The stakes are too high.
Habitual offenders receive harsher penalties for multiple convictions. Two OWI offenses within a 10-year period that result in injury or death can lead to a 10-year license suspension. You can also lose your license for 10 years if you receive three or more OWIs within a 10-year period. If you are convicted of two OWIs that involve death, you will lose your license for life.
If you are involved in an OWI offense, you will need an Indiana DUI defense lawyer to defend you.