In Indiana, driving under the influence (DUI) is usually referred to as “operating while intoxicated” (OWI). Indiana’s OWI laws prohibit driving a vehicle:
with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or with any amount of a Schedule I or II controlled substance in the person’s body, or while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs.
Following an OWI arrest, an offender generally faces administrative (license-related) penalties and criminal penalties if convicted of OWI in court.
Administrative Penalties for a Second OWI in Indiana
Under Indiana’s implied consent law, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) will suspend the license of any driver who’s arrested for OWI and fails or refuses to take a chemical test. Generally, a person fails a chemical test if the results indicate a BAC of .08% or more. If an offender has at least one previous OWI conviction, the suspension periods are:
- 180 days for a failed test, and
- Two years for refusing to submit to a test.
After an administrative suspension, the BMV will reinstate the person’s driving privileges if:
- OWI charge is dismissed, or
- A not guilty verdict for the OWI charge and the operator did not refuse to submit to a breathalyzer or a chemical test.
Specialized Driving Privileges
If the vehicle operator did not refuse a chemical test, the offender can obtain specialized driving privileges to drive during the mandatory period of suspension. Specialized driving privileges can be granted for 180 days to two and a half years and the offender is generally required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in the vehicle.
All second OWI convictions in Indiana require a mandatory minimum sentence of five days in jail or 240 hours of community service.
Jail, Fines, and Community Service
A second OWI offense is a level 6 felony if the previous OWI conviction occurred within five years of the current OWI offense or the defendant. A level 6 felony carries a sentence of six months to two and one-half years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. This applies if the following conditions exist:
- Driver is at least 21 years old
- Driver had a BAC of .15% or more or drove a vehicle in a manner that endangered another person, and
- Driver had a passenger under 18 years of age in the vehicle.
A second OWI conviction is a Level 5 felony if the defendant’s previous OWI conviction caused death or serious bodily injury. A level 5 felony carries a sentence of one to six years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000.
All second OWI convictions require a minimum sentence of five days in jail or 240 hours of community service.
In addition to the administrative suspension discussed above, the court can impose a license suspension if the defendant is convicted of OWI. The suspension periods can be up to the maximum period of incarceration allowed for the offense. For a second OWI conviction, the suspension periods are:
- Six months to two and one-half years if the defendant is convicted of a level 6 felony OWI, and
- One to six years if the defendant is convicted of a level 5 felony OWI.
The time the offender’s license was administratively suspended for failing a chemical test is credited towards the court suspension. IF, a defendant whose license was suspended for refusing a chemical test is ineligible to receive credit towards the court suspension.
Specialized Driving Privileges
When a defendant’s license has been suspended by the court for an OWI conviction, the court can grant specialized driving privileges for at least 180 days and up to two and a half years. To obtain privileges, the defendant is generally required to install an Ignition Interlock Device in the vehicle.
Alcohol/Drug Assessment and Treatment
Second OWI offenders are required to undergo a drug and alcohol assessment to determine the appropriate follow-up requirements levied by the court. The defendant will be required to complete an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program.
Victim Impact Program
In Indiana, all OWI offenders are required to attend and pay for the costs of a victim impact program (VIP). Offenders must participate in a panel of speakers who have been affected by OWI drivers and visit one of the following:
- Emergency medical facility
- Coroner’s facility, or
- Chronic alcoholism treatment center
The purpose of DUI probation is to prevent future violations. Judges will impose rules regarding treatment for alcohol and drugs.
- You may not be allowed to enter bars or liquor stores. You may have to avoid restaurants that serve alcohol.
- You will be subject to random drug and alcohol testing.
- You may be required to install an ignition interlock device.
- You may have to report to a probation officer. This could be by phone or in person. The levels of probation contact will be dictated by the court.
- You may have to attend substance abuse classes.
- You may have to go to meetings.
- You may even have to go to an Intensive Outpatient treatment program or an Intensive Inpatient treatment program.