Lifelong consequences often result for DUI convictions, also known as OVWI – operating a vehicle while intoxicated – in Indiana. The repercussions include jail time, license suspension, fines and other financial and personal penalties.
While no one should ever risk their lives and others’ by driving drunk, police officers often make mistakes or lack the proper training, and standardized tests judging whether a person is intoxicated are often flawed.
Indiana DUI penalties
Motorists can be charged with DUI/OVWI when their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, or when Schedule I or II drugs are detected. Possible penalties include:
- First offense: Up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. With a BAC of 0.15% or more, penalties can increase to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
- Second or third offense: Six months to 30 months in jail and a fine up to $10,000 with at least one prior conviction in the past five years.
In addition, driver’s licenses are typically suspended for 180 days for a first offense and a minimum of one year for second and third offenses.
The best DUI defenses
Due to the high stakes involved, it’s vital to consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer examines every piece of evidence and officer actions, including:
- Illegal stop: Police generally must have a valid reason to pull you over, such as speeding or violations of other traffic laws, or vehicle malfunctions, such as a broken tail light. They can’t stop you on a hunch.
- Inaccurate or invalid tests: Standardized field sobriety tests can be misleading as people with medical conditions or those taking prescribed medications often fail them. Skewed breathalyzer results happen due to an officer’s inadequate training or defective instruments.
- Rights violations: You must be fully informed of your rights if arrested, including your right to speak to a lawyer. You should be polite to an officer if you are stopped, but do not answer any questions until an attorney is present.
The police officer who made the stop is one of the most significant parts of the prosecution’s case. Make sure you take copious notes of all interactions with police, which can help identify mistakes in the officer’s actions and conclusions.
Your lawyer will examine every piece of evidence, including test results, the reasons for the stop and the officer’s behavior to help minimize the case against you, and in some cases, dismissed charges result.