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Indiana DUI Penalties

Indiana DUI Penalties

Fort Wayne DUI lawyer helps reduce fines and sentencing for drunk driving in Indiana

Indiana is officially known as the Crossroads of America. But if you drive under the influence here, you can find yourself in its cross hairs. The Hoosier State takes drunk driving very seriously. Indiana DUI penalties are among the most severe in the country. So, if you’re arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, you need experienced and determined defense representation. At The Law Offices of Ryan E. Lackey, you’ll get highly professional representation focused on achieving the fairest results possible.

Penalties for getting a DUI in Indiana

The official term for drunk or drug-impaired driving in Indiana is operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). However, the term DUI is used in common parlance. To convict anyone of DUI in Indiana, the prosecution must prove intoxication and “actual physical control” of a motor vehicle. Authorities can prove intoxication in one of two ways:

  • Impairment — Any level of alcohol or drug use plus an impaired condition that impedes the person’s ability to safely operate the vehicle.
  • Per se — The person has a blood alcohol content above the legal limit of 0.08 percent or any amount of a schedule I or II controlled substance in their system.

Penalties for a standard DUI depend in part on prior convictions, as follows:

  • First offense — If charged as a Class C misdemeanor, the penalty is a minimum of five days in jail or 240 hours community service, up to 60 days, with a fine of up to $500. However, the driver can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, if operation of the vehicle endangered another person. Then, the penalty is up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
  • Second offense — If the arrest came within seven years of the prior conviction, the charge is a Level 6 felony, punishable by anywhere from six months to two-and-one-half years in jail, along with a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Third offense — After a third conviction, the state labels the driver a Habitual Substance Offender, which means sentencing enhancements may apply. A conviction carries a minimum of 20 days in jail or 480 hours of community service. However, circumstances might lead authorities to charge a felony, which can mean imprisonment for up to two-and-one-half years.

Administrative penalties, such as license suspensions, also apply automatically.

Felony DUI penalties and aggravating factors

Indiana authorities can charge DUI as a felony if there are aggravating factors, such as:

  • Injury accident — An impaired driver who causes injury to a person can be charged with a Level Five felony, calling for one to six years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. If the driver has a prior DUI from five years ago or less, or if there were multiple victims, the penalties are increased. Any future convictions are charged as a Level Five felony.
  • Fatal accident — Impaired driving that causes the death of another person can be charged as a Level Four felony, drawing two to 12 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Multiple fatalities can be charged as separate felonies.
  • Minor passenger(s) — An impaired driver stopped while transporting a passenger under the age of 18 can be charged with a Level Six felony DUI, calling for months to two-and-one-half in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

A judge can order additional penalties, including the installation of an ignition interlock device, drug or alcohol counseling, license suspension or license revocation. You can also lose your license under the state’s implied consent law, if you refuse to take a chemical test. 

To minimize the disruption of your life due to a DUI arrest, you should retain a skilled and experienced drunk driving attorney.

Contact a veteran Indiana criminal defense attorney for your DUI case

The Law Offices of Ryan E. Lackey provides solid and cost-effective representation in DUI cases at all levels. For a free initial consultation, please call us at 260-222-7364 or contact the firm online.

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  • Fort Wayne Office
    1519 Spy Run Ave.
    Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805
    Phone: 260-437-0197
    Fax: 260-745-4703