Indiana law uses the term “Operating While Intoxicated” (OWI) to refer to drunk driving offenses, and the statute is similar to those in many other states: You can be charged with OWI if your blood alcohol content is over .08 percent, or under that amount if you demonstrate signs of impairment when operating your vehicle. If convicted, your driver’s license is suspended; plus, there are criminal penalties, because drunk driving is against the law. In most cases, you will face misdemeanor charges, so your sentence may include fines and incarceration. However, under some circumstances, you could face felony charges for DUI. The stakes are much higher for a felony as compared to a misdemeanor, so it’s critical to discuss your case with an experienced OWI defense lawyer in Indiana.
If you’re charged with OWI within five years of a prior drunk driving conviction, the offense is a Class D Felony with enhanced penalties. Therefore:
Indiana law also treats a third drunk driving violation as a felony, but the look back period is longer. A conviction of a third OWI within a period of more than five but less than 10 years means:
There are serious implications for an OWI that results in the death of another person, even though it was unintentional. You will be charged with a felony for involuntary manslaughter and may be jailed up to eight years. If you have two drunk driving offenses that cause death or injury to another individual, you will lose your license forever.
If you have been arrested for drunk driving, the implications are serious and extensive. Our OWI defense lawyers at the Bellinger Law Firm can help. Please contact our office in Fort Wayne, Indiana for more information or to schedule a consultation.