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Potential Penalties for a DUI Charge

Criminal Law
Potential Penalties for a DUI Charge

When intoxicated from drugs or alcohol and operating a motor vehicle, you may be charged with a DUI. The term DUI stands for “driving under the influence,” and this term is not typically used legally in Indiana. Rather, the term “operating while intoxicated,” or OWI, refers to those that drive drunk or drugged. 

Indiana OWI Laws

Laws in Indiana state that a person may receive a criminal charge for the operation of a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater. There is also a zero-tolerance law in place that prohibits drivers under the age of 21 from operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of a trace amount of alcohol, 0.02%, or greater. Further, if the driver has any schedule I or II controlled substances in their system, this also applies under OWI laws. Examples of schedule I and II drugs include but are not limited to opiates, hallucinogenic drugs like LSD and psilocybin, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines. The potential penalties for a DUI charge can vary depending on a variety of factors including whether there have been prior OWI convictions on the offender’s record. Below are some common penalties for DWI charges. 

Jail Time

The amount of jail time that someone can receive for an OWI in Indiana is relatively consistent regardless of the number of prior OWI offenses that the individual has. For a first, second, or third offense of operating while intoxicated, a person may spend a maximum of 60 days in jail for a blood alcohol concentration between 0.08% and 0.15%. With a blood alcohol concentration at or above 0.15%, they may serve up to one year in jail. However, if a person was convicted of a felony OWI, they may face between six months to two and a half years of jail time. 


If convicted of an OWI in Indiana, you may have to pay substantial fines. For all first, second, and third offenses of an OWI, you may expect to pay up to $500 in fees. This may be decreased or compensated for with jail time depending on your individual case. If your blood alcohol concentration was at or greater than 0.15%, your maximum fine increases substantially to $5,000. Further, if you’re charged with an OWI felony, you may have to pay up to $10,000 in fines. An OWI felony occurs when you are charged with an OWI in the five-year span from when you were previously charged with an OWI. 

License Suspension

Most cases of operating while intoxicated charges result in some degree of license suspension. For a first offender, your license is typically suspended for 180 days, or 6 months. For both second and third offenders, this suspension timeline increases to a minimum of one year. 

Work With a Criminal Lawyer in Indiana

If you’ve been charged with an OWI in Indiana and are hoping to reduce your potential penalties for a DUI charge, consider meeting with an experienced DUI attorney. Former OWI prosecutor, attorney Shane O’Donnell, can closely examine the details of your case and determine the best course of action for you. To schedule a consultation, contact us at the Law Offices of Shane O’Donnell today. 

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