At Fifer Law Office, our attorneys are extremely experienced in crafting defense strategies for people facing drunk driving charges. FindLaw notes that in Indiana, drunk driving is known as operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Here is what you need to know about OWI in Indiana.

The law

If law enforcement determines that your blood alcohol content is 0.08%, then you may receive an OWI charge. However, if you are under the age of 21, then Indiana’s zero tolerance law reduces the legal BAC level to 0.02%. Even one drink may raise a BAC level above that amount.

The penalties

A number of factors affect the penalties, including the following:

  • BAC level
  • Previous convictions
  • Presence of young passengers in the vehicle
  • Crash involving serious or fatal injuries

If your BAC level is between 0.08% and 0.15%, you could face a class C misdemeanor with possible fines up to $500 and as many as 60 days in jail. However, if your BAC level is 0.15% or higher, then your conviction is a class A misdemeanor, which could result in a year in jail and as much as $5,000 in fines.

Having someone under the age of 18 in the vehicle with you when you are legally intoxicated is a level 6 felony if you are at least 21. It is also a level 6 felony if this is your second OWI within five years, or if you cause a serious injury or fatally injure a law enforcement animal. Your penalties could include six months to 2.5 years in jail and as much as $10,000 in fines.

A second OWI after a first OWI that causes a serious or fatal injury is automatically a level 5 felony; conversely, a second OWI that causes a serious or fatal injury is a level 5 felony even if the first one did not cause any injuries. This may result in a prison sentence of one to six years and as much as $10,000 in fines.

If a fatal injury crash is a second OWI incident within five years, if you were driving with a suspended license when it happened or your BAC level was at least 0.15% when it happened, then your conviction may be a level 4 felony. This could lead to two to 12 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

More information about OWI convictions is available on our webpage.