DUI / OWI Defense
Driving Under the Influence or DUI is actually termed Operating While Intoxicated OWI in Indiana. It is one of the most commonly committed criminal offenses and individuals from all walks of life can find themselves charged with an OWI offense. However, it is crucial that you understand that even a first time OWI conviction can carry severe penalties and depending on the circumstances – jail time.
The legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit in the state of Indiana is .08%. The prosecution will need to prove that either you were operating your vehicle while intoxicated (the driver was impaired so as to lose control resulting from ingesting alcohol) or that you have a BAC concentration of .08% or higher, which results in a finding of violating the per se law. The per se law presumes that if your BAC is in excess of .08% that you are legally intoxicated and a danger to yourself or others. A BAC concentration of .15% or higher is a Class A Misdemeanor and carries far stricter penalties.
It is important to note that there are two components to any OWI charge: the administrative component and the criminal component. The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles upon notification of a failed or refused breathalyzer will automatically suspend your license. You driving privileges are not suspended until you receive a notice of suspension from the BMV.
In regard to the criminal aspect, if this is your first OWI offense and you are convicted, the court can suspend your license for 90 days, but no longer than 2 years. Depending on the circumstances of the arrest, the court may allow for a 30 day suspension with 180 day probationary license in lieu of a 90 day suspension. It is also likely that the court will require certain fines and costs as well require your attendance at an alcohol treatment class.
If this is your second offense is within 5 years and you are convicted, Indiana law requires a minimum 5 day jail sentence, but allows for substantially longer sentence should the court feel the circumstances warrant it. Your license could be suspended between 180 days and for a much as 2 years. The court will also require fines and costs to be paid and you to attend an alcohol treatment class.
If this is your third offense and you are convicted, Indiana law requires a minimum 10 day jail sentence, but allows for substantially longer sentences should the court feel the circumstances warrant it. Your license could be suspended between 1 year and 10 years. If you have been convicted of 3 OWI convictions within a 10 year period, you will be adjudged a habitual traffic violator and your license will be suspended for a 10 years. You will be eligible for a probationary license after your license has been suspended for 5 years.
The ability to drive is obviously critical as most people require a vehicle to get to their place of employment. Obtaining legal counsel that will work to keep an OWI conviction off your record or negotiate a plea that will allow you to drive as soon as possible can mean the difference between keeping your job or losing it. Were you “operating”? Were you “intoxicated”? Was the stop proper? Were the field sobriety tests performed accurately? Are you eligible for an Ignition Interlock Device? Can I obtain a plea that will allow for a lesser non-alcohol related offense? These are some of critical questions, which the Law Office of Shane B.C. Watson will examine and investigate on your behalf.
Howes & Howes LLP understands how important the ability to drive is to you and your family. Contact the attorneys of Howes & Howes LLP to protect your rights and receive the guidance to help you avoid jail time and minimize the negative impact of an OWI charge. Call, email, or use the contact form provided on this website to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.