317-602-5970

Being arrested for an OWI in Indiana can be a harrowing experience. In Indiana, OWI is an acronym that appears often in criminal traffic courts. If you are in need of an Indianapolis DUI lawyer, call our office at 317-602-5970 for assistance today.

What Does OWI Stand For

In Indiana, in particular, rather than use the term DUI for operating a vehicle while under the influence, the acronym OWI is used. OWI is an acronym for the term operating while intoxicated. It is the legal charge in the State of Indiana for drunk driving, impaired driving, buzzed driving, operating a vehicle while impaired, even drugged driving.

It should be noted that OWI is used in cases in which “driving” was not involved, but the operator was intoxicated while operating a boat, heavy equipment, or carrying out some other function. While a DUI indicates that an individual was driving a vehicle, an OWI covers a larger area of activities around the operating activities of a vehicle.

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OWI Examples

An example of an activity that would result in an OWI arrest. A vehicle’s operator was going to drive but subsequently decided that it would be best to sleep off the alcohol and they climb in the backseat. The driver decided to leave the radio playing while they slept it off. The United States Supreme Court has upheld that having physical control of the vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are enough elements to warrant an OWI arrest in Indiana. Call Indianapolis DUI lawyer, Kevin Karimi or Ron Gemma at 317-602-5970 or email ron@indianadefenseteam.com.

Indiana OWI Law

According to Indiana law, an OWI is not a minor traffic violation. It is a serious crime. With very serious penalties.

  1. MISDEMEANOR OWI
  • “.08″ & “INTOXICATED” WITH “VEHICLES”

There are now four (4) misdemeanor offenses in Indiana with respect to adults consuming alcohol (or having certain controlled substances in their body without a valid prescription) and operating an automobile. These four (4) basic offenses will be referred to herein as “Operating While Intoxicated Type Offenses.”

  • Two (2) “Per Se” Offenses
    • Class “C” Misdemeanor “Per Se”
      • The first of the two (2) “Per Se” type misdemeanor offenses is concerned with both the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath or blood and certain controlled substances in the body. IC 9-30-5-1(a) prohibits the operation of a vehicle with at least .08 but less than .15 grams of alcohol by weight in your blood or breath and operating with certain controlled substances in your body. Both offenses are charged as Class “C” Misdemeanors.

A Class “C” Misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of sixty (60) days, a fine of up to Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or both. (IC 35-50-3-4)

  • Class “A” Misdemeanor “Per Se”
    • The second “Per Se” offense is only concerned with the amount of alcohol a person has consumed. IC 9-30-5-1(b) prohibits the operation of a vehicle with .15 or above grams of alcohol by weight in your blood or breath. This offense is charged as a Class “A” Misdemeanor.

A Class “A” Misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of three hundred sixty-five (365) days, a fine of up to Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or both. (IC 35-50-3-4)

  • Two (2) Operating While “Intoxicated” Offenses
  • Class “C” Misdemeanor “Intoxicated”
    • The second two (2) statutes, (IC 9-30-5-2), prohibit the operation of a vehicle while intoxicated. ”Intoxicated” is defined as under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug other than alcohol or a controlled substance, or a combination of these so that there is an impaired condition of thought and action and the loss of normal control of your faculties. (IC 9-13-2-86)

A person who operates a vehicle while “Intoxicated” commits a Class “C” Misdemeanor. [(IC 9-30-5-2(a)]

  • Class “A” Misdemeanor “Intoxicated”
    • If it is proven that a person operated a vehicle while intoxicated, and in doing so additionally endangered someone, it is a Class “A” Misdemeanor. [IC 9-30-5-2(b)]
  1. FELONY OWI
  • Previous Conviction Within 5 Years

(IC 9-30-5-3)

  • If within five (5) years of the present arrest a person has a previous conviction for an “Operating While Intoxicated Type Offense,” the new offense will be elevated to a Level 6 Felony.
    A level 6 Felony carries a punishment of six (6) months to two and one-half (2.5) years imprisonment. The advisory sentence is one and one (1 ) year. Additionally, the person may be fined up to Ten Thousand Dollars ($l0,000.00. (IC 35-50-2-7)
    An “advisory sentence” is a guideline that the court may voluntarily consider as the midpoint between the maximum and minimum sentence.
    Additionally, the Court must order the convicted person to serve at least five (5) days imprisonment if they have one previous conviction and ten (10) days imprisonment if they have two (2) or more convictions (without good time credit). (IC 9-30-5-15)
  • Minors in Vehicle

(IC 9-30-5-3)

If the driver of the vehicle is at least 21 years old, with any passenger under 18, and the driver has either

  • 1) a Blood Alcohol Content of .15 or greater,
  • or 2) operates a vehicle while intoxicated, in a manner that endangers a person. The charge is a Level 6 Felony.

A level 6 Felony carries a punishment of six (6) months to two and one-half (2.5) years imprisonment. The advisory sentence is one and one (1 ) year. Additionally, the person may be fined up to Ten Thousand Dollars ($l0,000.00. (IC 35-50-2-7)

An “advisory sentence” is a guideline that the court may voluntarily consider as the midpoint between the maximum and minimum sentence.

  • Serious Bodily Injury

(IC 9-30-5-4)

  • Any “Operating While Intoxicated Type Offense” may be elevated and charged as a Level 6 felony if “serious bodily injury” is inflicted on another person. [IC 9-39-5-4(a)].
  • Death
    • Any “Operating While Intoxicated Type Offense” may be elevated and charged as a felony if death is inflicted on another person. The level felony can depend on the blood alcohol concentration and other circumstances.

III. MANDATORY JAIL SENTENCES

  • Misdemeanor with a Prior “OWI type” Conviction
    • Please note that, even if the present charge is a misdemeanor, if the person has one previous conviction for an “OWI type offense”, the judge must sentence him to at least 5 days in jail without “good time credit.” The judge does have the option of allowing the person to perform 180 hours of community service in lieu of the executed jail sentence. (IC 9-30-5-15 (a))
    • If the person has two (2) OR MORE prior “OWI type convictions,” there is a mandatory jail sentence of ten (10) days without “good time credit.” The judge has the option of ordering the person must perform 360 hours of community service in lieu of the executed jail sentence. (IC 9-30-5-15(b))
  1. ADMINISTRATIVE SUSPENSION OF DRIVING PRIVILEGES
  • Suspension for Failing “Chemical Test”
    • Whenever a law enforcement officer in the State of Indiana has probable cause to believe that a person has committed an “Operating While Intoxicated Type Offense,” the officer will offer the driver a chemical test(s) to determine that person’s blood and/or breath alcohol level. The test(s) may be of the blood, breath, urine, or all three (3). (IC 9-30-6-2) If the results of a chemical test show a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more, that person will be arrested. Further, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (“BMV”) will be notified of the test failure. At your first court hearing, (called an “Initial Hearing”), the Judge should suspend his driving privileges immediately for one hundred eighty (180) days in open court if he failed any of the chemical test(s). If for some reason the Judge doesn’t immediately suspend the driving privileges, but the judge finds probable cause to believe that the driver failed a “chemical test,” paperwork will be sent to the BMV advising it of this. Once the BMV receives this information, the BMV will send notice to the driver at his last known address, advising him that his driving privileges are suspended. This suspension (whether by the Judge or the BMV) is called an “administrative suspension.” This suspension will last for one hundred eighty (l80) days or until the case is disposed of by the Court, whichever occurs first. [IC 9-30-6-9(b)]

DUI or OWI

Long Term Effects of an OWI

Getting arrested for an OWI has an immediate impact on your life, but often, the long-term effects are overlooked. Here are some of the effects that are easily forgotten, but are nearly guaranteed to be life-altering. Often people wonder should they get an attorney for the first OWI. We would tell you that it is always good to consult with a DUI attorney Indianapolis.

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Cancellation of Your License

One likely result of an OWI sentence is that you have your vehicle driver’s license withdrawn by the state. This cancellation can last for a few months or even several years– relying on how many times you have been jailed and how high your blood alcohol web content was– and can create some functional problems in your day-to-day life. For example, the loss of your motorist’s license makes it harder for you to reach function or school on schedule, requiring you to either stroll or make use of public transportation whenever you need to run errands.

 Red Flags on Your Criminal History Search

An Indiana OWI conviction will appear on any background checks run by possible employers.  A criminal conviction may make it more difficult for you to build a career. Your criminal background issues can also appear when your history is explored by a possible landlord or college admissions board. Having a conviction for an OWI can preventing you from living in that dream apartment or receiving financial assistance at the college of your choice. These reasons are why it is essential to have a serious discussion with an expungement attorney Indianapolis.

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Increases in Insurance Policy Rates

When you are found guilty of operating while intoxicated, you are considered a  “high-risk” driver in your auto insurance company’s eyes, which means that you can expect your automobile insurance rates to climb immediately, becoming very costly.  Your automobile insurance for an OWI conviction can be sky-high for many years based on your past driving record and other factors.

Have You Been Charged with an OWI?

Have you been charged with an OWI in Indiana? Call our office for a free DUI consultation at 317-602-5970. It is time to speak with skilled Indiana DUI lawyers to discuss potential options available.

Get In Touch

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320 N Meridian St #916
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
317-602-5970
info@gemmakarimi.com