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First time OWI? Here’s what to expect

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2022 | OWI

If you are stopped for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, you need to get to know your legal rights as well as the potential penalties you could face.

Indiana makes it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more. If you are caught and accused of driving drunk, you could face a license suspension of up to two years even for your first OWI.

The state doesn’t yet require mandatory alcohol education, assessment or treatment, but being willing to go through it may help you minimize other penalties.

The penalties you could face are based on your BAC levels

There are different penalties that you could face upon conviction for an OWI. The penalties depend on your specific BAC level. For example, it is a:

  • Class C misdemeanor to have a BAC of .08% to 0.15% or to use a controlled substance behind the wheel. This is penalized with fines of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail.
  • Class A misdemeanor to be driving a vehicle with a BAC of 0.15% or more. Class A misdemeanors come with up to $5,000 in fines and a year in prison.
  • Level 6 felony if you are over 21 and driving while intoxicated while having a passenger under the age of 18 in the vehicle. This is penalized with up to 2.5 years in prison and fines that may reach up to $10,000.

All of these penalties are serious and should be considered when you work on your defense. It may be possible to seek lower penalties or to get the charges dropped completely depending on the specifics of your case.

How can you defend yourself?

There are many possible ways to defend yourself against these kinds of charges. How you fight back will depend on the specifics of your case and the evidence against you. With the right approach, you may be able to question the Breathalyzer test results or other other evidence that the officer used in an attempt to prove your intoxication, so you can minimize the risk of penalties.