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What are the penalties for a first-offense OWI?

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2021 | OWI

If you are pulled over and accused of driving while impaired, it is important that you take steps to protect yourself and your driving privileges. Indiana takes OWI – operating while under the influence – seriously and has significant penalties that it will impose on anyone who is convicted of an OWI charge.

Like all other states, it is illegal to drive in Indiana with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater. You could, however, face an OWI even if your BAC isn’t that high. The .08% limit is the per se limit, which means that an officer may not need any additional information to arrest you and report the offense.

Remember, too, that you could also face an OWI for driving while impaired by other substances such as over-the-counter, prescription, or illicit drugs.

What kinds of penalties will you face for OWI in Indiana?

Upon a first offense with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% to .15%, you could face up to 60 days in jail for a Class C misdemeanor upon conviction. You may also pay fines of up to $500.

For drivers who are arrested after driving with a BAC of .15% or greater, the charge becomes a Class A misdemeanor. This has harsher penalties. A Class A misdemeanor may lead to up to a year of incarceration and up to $5,000 in fines.

A first offense could be a felony in some instances. One such example is if someone is 21 or older while driving while impaired and has a passenger under the age of 18 in the vehicle at that time. The charge is raised to a felony because of the risk to the minor passenger. You may also expect to be charged with a felony if someone else is killed as a result of you driving while impaired.

You should take your defense seriously

Even though a first-offense OWI may not seem serious to you, it can be costly. Not only do you need to face the administrative penalties but also social and work effects. Defending yourself could help minimize the risk of a conviction, which helps protect your freedoms and current way of life.