Serving Indiana Since 1994

What are the penalties for a first OWI conviction In Indiana?

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Facing charges for operating a vehicle while intoxicated can be frightening. That is particularly true for those confronting the situation for the first time.

Such fear is understandable. OWI charges in Indiana carry serious consequences. Therefore, anyone in that circumstance benefits by grasping the potential penalties and learning what affects the outcome in these cases.

Indiana’s thresholds for an OWI

In Indiana, OWI refers to operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. Additionally, the presence of certain controlled substances in one’s system can also lead to an OWI charge.

Commercial drivers face even stricter regulations and cannot have a BAC of 0.04% or higher. Underage drivers must not exceed 0.02%.

Criminal penalties for an OWI

A first OWI conviction in Indiana is typically a Class C misdemeanor. One consequence of this charge includes jail time of up to 60 days. Additionally, the defendant may also face fines of up to $500.

If the court accepts evidence that the defendant had a BAC over 0.15%, the offense could elevate to a Class A misdemeanor. This involves up to a year of imprisonment and up to $5,000 in fines.

The state can also decide to suspend an alleged offender’s driving privileges for up to two years. Beyond that, the judge can mandate community service, substance abuse assessments and regular urine testing to check for continued substance abuse.

OWI administrative penalties

In addition to possible criminal penalties, arrested individuals face immediate license suspension, restricted driving privileges after 30 days for essential activities and the mandatory installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device on their vehicles.

An OWI conviction is life-altering. The severity of these penalties underscores the gravity of this offense in Indiana. Those who are dealing with such an accusation should look for realistic ways to address the charges to avoid unnecessarily harsh consequences.