Indiana OWI Prosecution
Indiana has two different ways for prosecuting operating while
intoxicated laws. The first of the laws is where an individual is
charged with impairment while operating a vehicle. Under this law the
prosecution will then need to prove to the court that the individual in
question was indeed impaired. The prosecution will provide evidence
towards the matter and may include record of the individual's physical
appearance, breath test records, urine test records, blood alcohol
content levels, and field sobriety test results. This kind of OWI
offense is often difficult to prove with only a blood alcohol content
percentage, even if it is over the limit. Often some individuals are
not impaired over the legal limit, so a case can be dismissed if no
impairment can be proven.
The second law for prosecuting an individual for operating while
intoxicated is called a per se law. Under Indiana per se laws the
prosecution does not need evidence to prove that an individual was
impaired. Instead the prosecution will only need to prove that the
individual's blood alcohol content percentage was over the legal limit.
This kind of action is most often easy to determine with the proper
Minors Driving Under the Influence
Those under the age of twenty-one are considered minors in regards to
drinking alcohol. Indiana law prohibits minor drinking and has
different qualifications for minors than for adults. Minors can be
arrested for driving under the influence if they have a blood alcohol
content over 0.02 percent. The adult limit and leading to an arrest is
a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent.
Minors over the blood alcohol content limit of 0.02 percent will be
arrested and charged with Class C Infractions. If a minor has a blood
alcohol content over 0.08 percent then he or she will be charged with a
misdemeanor rather than an infraction.
Operating While Intoxicated Offenses
Operating while intoxicated is normally considered a misdemeanor
offense, but OWI offenses can increase with the number of prior
offenses and if an individual's blood alcohol content is above 0.15
percent. Upon an OWI arrest an individual will lose his or her driver's
license to be later suspended.
The punishment for an Indiana OWI offense depends on the number of
prior offenses. When an individual is convicted of a first offense, he
or she will receive probation, driver's license suspension, restitution
payments, and often a jail sentence. Second-time offenses will earn a
felony conviction that will include imprisonment, public restitution,
home detention, driver's license suspension from six months to one
year, probation, and court costs. A third OWI offense will earn
driver's license suspension for ten years, imprisonment sentencing
between three months and nine months, and probation.
Habitual drug users and drunk drivers may have additional jail
sentences up to eight years for two or more offenses. Felony OWI
offenses are earned if a second OWI offense takes place within five
years of the first offense. If children are present in the vehicle at
the time of the arrest or an injury or death was the result of the OWI,
the punishments will consequently increase.