OWI Frequently Asked Questions
Operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), also referred to as DUI, is a serious matter that must be addressed immediately. A conviction will be a lengthy, expensive process that will affect your life for years. It is a good idea to contact a lawyer right away.
Attorney Eric J. Beaver has the Indiana criminal defense knowledge and experience you need for OWI representation in Rensselaer and Jasper County. Contact Beaver & Beaver, P.C., at 219-733-8891 or send the firm an email to arrange a consultation with him.
What are the penalties for a first-time OWI charge in Indiana?
If you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% to .15%, you could face up to a $500 fine and up to two months in jail. If your BAC is .15% or more, you could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties for this charge are up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
What happens to my driver’s license if I am convicted of OWI?
You could lose your right to drive for up to 180 days or more. To protect your license, you should contact the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) for an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension of your license. You must contact the BMV within 10 days of your arrest or you will not be allowed to contest the suspension.
You may be eligible for specialized driving privileges (SDP), also known as a “hardship license.” This will allow you to drive to places like work or school during certain hours.
What is an ignition interlock device?
In some cases, the judge may order you to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. To operate your vehicle, you will have to blow into the device so it can measure your BAC. The vehicle will not start if the device finds that you have alcohol in your breath.
These devices are expensive to install and maintain, but they may be the only way you are allowed to drive after an OWI conviction.
Are there other consequences of an OWI conviction?
Yes. In addition to the criminal penalties, an ignition interlock device and administrative license fees, you may have to get different auto insurance because some companies will not insure a driver with an OWI on their record. This type of insurance is typically far more expensive.
Depending on what you do for a living, you could lose your job or a professional license after an OWI. A conviction on your record may also make it difficult to get certain types of jobs.
Remember, that if you get a subsequent OWI conviction, the consequences and penalties you face will be significantly more serious than the first conviction.