Indiana has strict rules regarding operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) offenses. It is against the law for anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than 0.08% to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Some people, like teenage drivers and those in control of commercial vehicles, are subject to even stricter limitations. Drivers can also potentially face charges with a lower BAC if they behave in an obviously impaired manner at the wheel or cause collisions.
Some people facing OWI charges jump to the conclusion that pleading guilty is the fastest and most effective solution. However, a guilty plea will put you at the mercy of the judge presiding over your case regarding sentencing and will also likely leave you unable to drive for some time. What are the licensing consequences of an OWI charge?
The more violations you have, the longer you lose your license
As you might already expect, repeat offenses will increase the penalties you face. That rule applies not just to the fines and jail time possible after a conviction but also to the license suspension imposed. The judge presiding over your case can suspend your license for months or even years.
The number of OWI offenses on your record will determine how long you may lose your license. The state suspends your license for between 90 days and two years after a first OWI charge. A second offense could lead to the loss of your driver’s license for between 180 days and two years. A third offense increases the maximum and minimum suspension possible to between one and 10 years.
Although you may sometimes be able to go back to court to lift the suspension or regain limited driving privileges, it is often better to avoid the loss of your license in the first place.
Explore your OWI defense options
Different people can mount drastically different defenses when facing drunk driving allegations in Indiana. Some people will say that the traffic stop was a violation of their rights. Others will have a medical explanation for why they fail the blood alcohol test.
Understanding the laws that apply to OWI offenses will help you start planning a viable defense strategy after your arrest.