Indiana DUI 101

What is an Indiana DUI vs. DWI or OWI?

In an Indiana DUI, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant was driving the vehicle at the time of the incident. In a DWI, the prosecutor must prove that the driver was “operating” the vehicle, which may only include sitting at the wheel with the keys in the ignition, but not necessarily driving. In Indiana, the court primarily uses the term OWI (operating a vehicle under the influence) which is synonymous with DUI (driving under the influence).

How much do you have to drink for a DUI/DWI in Indiana?

Under 21

The prosecutor must prove that the driver had a .02 percent blood alcohol content to secure a DUI/DWI conviction.

21 or Older

The prosecutor must prove that the driver had a .08 percent blood alcohol content to secure a DUI/DWI conviction.

Commercial

The prosecutor must prove that the driver had a .04 percent blood alcohol content to secure a DUI/DWI conviction.

Penalties: What Is an Offender Likely to Face?

An Indiana DUI is considered a class “C” misdemeanor. The first conviction may result in a minimum jail sentence of 30 days to 60 days, with up to a year of imprisonment for drivers with a blood alcohol content of .15 or above. Drivers with a blood alcohol content of up to .15 may face fines of up to $500, and those with a blood alcohol content of .15 or above may face fines up to $5,000. The judge could also order license suspension for up to 2 years, probation for up to 2 years, and court fees of at least $300.

Other possible penalties include: Installation of the ignition interlock device, community service, participation in a victim impact panel, participation in a substance abuse class, and submitting to periodic urine testing.

How does this change after repeated offenses?

Penalties for the Second Indiana DUI Conviction:

  • Class “D” felony
  • Jail time from 5 days to 3 years
  • Fine of up to $10,000
  • License suspension for a minimum of 180 days but up to 2 years
  • Probation for up to 2 Years
  • Installation of the ignition Interlock device
  • Community service (number of hours determined by the court)
  • Attend a Victim Impact Panel
  • Substance-abuse class
  • Submit to periodic urine testing
  • Other Possible Penalties

Penalties for the Third Indiana DUI Conviction:

  • Class “D” Felony
  • Jail time from 10 days (minimum) up to 3 Years
  • Fine of up to $10,000
  • License suspension for a minimum of 1 year, but up to 10 years
  • Probation for up to 2 Years
  • *An habitual traffic violator may be subject to additional penalties, including but not limited to community service, substance abuse classes, and urine testing.

Can You Get a Restricted License?

In Indiana, you may request in writing to obtain a hardship license, which grants you limited driving privileges while your suspension is in effect. The court will determine the extent to which your driving privileges are limited.

What can you expect at a court-mandated Indiana DUI program?

In Indiana, court-mandated DUI programs consist of alcohol counseling and a treatment program educating offenders on the negative effects of drinking and driving. Indiana law says that any school offering a Bureau of Motor Vehicles- approved driving course may not charge over $55 per course. Course lengths can range from one week to several, depending on the severity of the driver’s drinking problem and whether this is his/her first, second, or third or more Indiana DUI.