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Aggressively Defending Against Drunk Driving Charges

Like all states, Indiana carries strict laws regarding driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of both. These laws are strictly enforced and aggressively prosecuted in state courts in an effort to send a message to potential offenders and to protect the public. However, law enforcement as well as prosecutors can get it wrong and engage in zealous overreach efforts that violate your rights. At The Region Lawyers, we operate on the basis that you are innocent until proven guilty and that your legal rights in any criminal charge need to be vigorously protected. One of those rights is to have your voice heard in a fair and just trial.

An Indiana DUI charge is a criminal matter and, like all criminal matters, it calls for a professional who understands the system and how to devise effective defenses that can minimize the damage to your life. Our Gary DUI/OWI defense attorneys bring over a decade of extensive state and federal trial experience to your case. In DUI cases, this is extremely advantageous as these charges are a complex mix of police procedures, technical standards for the operation and administration of chemical tests, and other factors. Our attorneys are well-versed in all aspects of the law and procedure in DUI cases and can use this extensive experience in deconstructing your arrest to discover weaknesses and failings that may successfully counter the prosecution’s case against you.

Arrested for an Indiana DUI? Get a free case review at The Region Lawyers by calling 219-961-3814 or contacting us online.

DUI/OWI In Indiana

While commonly referred to as DUI, this charge is officially known as Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) under Indiana law. Intoxication can be in the form of alcohol and/or drugs. Drugs can include controlled substances such as cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and heroin as well as prescription medicines such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Adderall, Fentanyl and more.

Under Indiana OWI law, you are prohibited from operating your vehicle as follows:

  • When your blood alcohol concentration measures .08% or more; this is known as “per se” OWI
  • When you have any quantity of an Indiana Schedule I or II drug in your system
  • When you are intoxicated by alcohol or drugs and thus too impaired to drive safely; you can be charged with this regardless of your BAC
  • When you are under the age of 21 and your BAC measures .02% or more

What Is An OWI Charge?

In Indiana, an OWI is a serious offense. If you are convicted of an OWI, you will face significant penalties, including jail time, a fine and a driver’s license suspension. In some cases, you may also be required to attend alcohol education classes or treatment. If you are facing an OWI charge, it is important to understand the potential consequences and seek experienced legal help.

The state of Indiana prohibits driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI) or operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). In accordance with OWI laws, driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is prohibited. As part of the Indiana DUI laws, you may be subject to blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits, criminal sentences including jail time and fines, license suspensions, and implied consent to alcohol and drug testing.

What Are The Criminal Penalties For OWI?

In a first-offense OWI, you will be charged with a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. If your BAC measured .15% or higher or if you were found driving in a manner that put others at risk, you will likely face a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. Class A misdemeanor OWI rises to a Level 6 felony charge if you also had a minor in your car under the age of 18. Level 6 felonies are punishable by six months up to two and a half years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. If your OWI caused the death or catastrophic injury to another, you will likely face a Level 4 felony punishable by two up to 12 years with fines of up to $10,000. In second, third and subsequent offenses, the penalties generally increase.

What Administrative Penalties Could You Face?

Like other states, Indiana maintains “implied consent” laws which means that you are obligated to comply with chemical testing when requested by law enforcement in a suspected OWI traffic stop. This is part of the agreement you have with the state when accepting your driver’s license. If you refuse such testing, you will face an automatic license suspension by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) for a year.

For those who comply with testing, you will also face the administrative penalty of a license suspension when failing the test. Your suspension will be for up to 60 days for a Class C misdemeanor, up to a year for a Class A misdemeanor, and for six months up to two and a half years for a Level 6 felony.

Are You Eligible For Specialized Driving Privileges?

During your license suspension period, you may be allowed specialized driving privileges that generally require the installation of an ignition interlock system in your car. These systems make it impossible to drive your vehicle if you fail its breath test.

There is no specific length of time that specialized driving privileges last; the exact time frame is determined at the discretion of the court that grants them. Keep in mind that these privileges are limited and will only allow you to drive to and from certain places, such as work or school. Furthermore, certain individuals cannot receive specialized driving privileges, including:

  • People who have never lived in Indiana
  • People who refused chemical testing during an OWI stop
  • People whose offense caused the death of another person

Speaking with an Indiana defense lawyer can help determine whether you qualify for specialized driving privileges after an OWI conviction.

What Tests Are Typically Involved In DUI/OWI Traffic Stops?

OWI traffic stops involve two types of tests: field sobriety tests and chemical tests. Field sobriety tests are a series of three tests – the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the one-leg-stand test and the walk-and-turn test – that give police officers an initial idea of people’s impairment through their attention levels and stability. In Indiana, it is legal to refuse field sobriety tests.

Chemical tests allow law enforcement officials to measure people’s impairment more accurately. If an officer asks you to submit to chemical testing, you may have to consent to a blood, breath or urine test. In Indiana, chemical tests cannot be refused.

What Are Potential DUI Defense Strategies?

The best defense strategy for your case will depend on the exact nature of your OWI arrest. While each situation is different, some common defenses to OWI charges include:

  • Inaccurate chemical test results
  • Inaccurate field sobriety test results
  • Issues with chemical test administration
  • Lack of awareness of intoxication (often due to medication)
  • Lack of probable cause

You will want to partner with an OWI attorney to build your defense strategy. With their help, you may be able to spot issues with your case that you might otherwise miss.

Turn To The Region Lawyers For The Competent Help You Need

Defenses do exist for OWI charges in Indiana. Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate your case to determine what those defenses may be and create a legal strategy on your behalf. When facing an OWI charge, we advise that you call us as soon as possible for most favorable results.

Book your free consultation at 219-961-3814 or online today. Based in Merrillville, we work with clients across The Region, as well as throughout Indiana and northern Illinois.