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Penalties for OWI in Indiana

August 12, 2020

Indiana drivers can receive charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a blood alcohol content of at least 0.08% at the time of the arrest. The officer can also make an OWI arrest for obvious drug or alcohol intoxication regardless of the BAC.

Individuals facing these charges should understand the possible penalties for an Indiana OWI conviction.

First Offense

With no prior OWI charges, the driver will receive:

  • Up to 60 days in jail
  • Up to $500 in fines
  • 180-day license suspension with 12-month ignition interlock device requirement upon reinstatement
  • Required attendance at a victim impact panel

Drivers may also receive an additional one-year license suspension for refusing a breath test at the scene. Elevated penalties apply when the driver had a BAC of more than 0.15% at the time of arrest, including fines of up to $5,000 and up to 12 months in jail.

Subsequent Offenses

While many states have a five-year or 10-year lookback period, an Indiana OWI will remain on the driver’s record forever. Penalties for the second offense are the same as those for the first offense, except the driver must serve a 12-month license suspension. Breath test refusal with a prior OWI offense results in an added 24-month license suspension.

A subsequent offense within five years of the first conviction will constitute a felony OWI rather than a misdemeanor. Penalties for this charge may include up to $10,000 fines. The driver will also receive at least six months and up to 30 months in jail.

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