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 testing.
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.