Image of a man in handcuffs, representing questions about OWI in Indiana answered here by a Fishers DUI attorney.

FAQ: A Fishers DUI Attorney Answers Indiana OWI Questions

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), also referred to as operating while intoxicated (OWI) or operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVWI) in Indiana, you likely have many questions and concerns about what happens next. Here, a Fishers DUI attorney at Camden & Meridew, P.C. answers some of the questions you may have.

Indiana OWI Questions Answered by a Fishers DUI Attorney

Getting legal counsel and representation quickly after a DUI arrest is the best way to protect your rights and ensure that you have an advocate on your side throughout this legal process. Josiah Swinney, an Indiana criminal defense attorney at Camden & Meridew, has the experience and skills needed to help.

In this blog, Josiah shares answers to some of the questions you may have about OWI in Indiana:

What Is OWI in Indiana?

Indiana Code refers to DUI/OWI as operating a vehicle while intoxicated. You can be charged with OVWI in Indiana if your blood alcohol content (BAC), as determined by a breath, blood, or urine test, is .08 percent or higher or if you are found to have a Schedule I or II controlled substance (or metabolites of a controlled substance) in your system.

The BAC limit for individuals under 21 driving in Indiana is lower, at .02 percent, and commercial drivers must stay under .04 percent to avoid OWI arrests or charges.

Are DUI Checkpoints Legal in Indiana?

Some people believe that DUI checkpoints violate a person’s constitutional right to be free from illegal search and seizure. However, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that these checkpoints, when conducted properly, do not violate this right.

Indiana has a DUI task force dedicated to decreasing impaired driving in the Hoosier State. It provides funds to counties and municipalities for increased policing to prevent and detect DUI. In Hamilton County, for example, the Hamilton County Traffic Safety Partnership (HCTSP) funds overtime pay for officers tasked with reducing and discouraging impaired driving through saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints.

Do You Lose Your License Immediately after a DUI?

If you are arrested for OWI in Indiana and chemical testing shows a BAC of .08 percent or higher, your driver’s license is immediately suspended for 30 days. Indiana has an implied consent law that makes consenting to a chemical test for alcohol or drugs a condition of driving a vehicle in the state. The law implements a one-year license suspension for refusing to comply with the testing.

Indiana has a tiered system for determining the length of a license suspension after the initial 30-day period. For a first offense, your license may be suspended for up to two years, although you may have an opportunity to reduce this timeframe by completing a substance abuse education course. A second offense DUI requires a minimum 180-day suspension and allows up to two years, while a third offense requires a suspension of at least one year and up to ten years.

Is DUI a Felony in Indiana?

A DUI does not usually result in a felony charge in Indiana. For a basic OWI offense with a BAC of .08 percent or higher but lower than .15 percent with no aggravating circumstances, the charge is a Class C misdemeanor. This is elevated to a Class A misdemeanor if the BAC is .15 percent or higher or if the vehicle is operated in a manner that endangers a person.

Some circumstances can lead to felony charges for DUI in Indiana, however. Previous convictions for DUI and incidents that resulted in the serious or catastrophic injury or death of a person merit felony charges under Indiana law. Drivers who are over the age of 21 and drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a child under the age of 18 in the vehicle may also be charged with a felony. Indiana law also contains a provision that makes OVWI a felony if it results in the death of a law enforcement animal.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Indiana?

When a DUI case is dismissed or otherwise resolved in the defendant’s favor, any license suspension that occurred after the arrest is removed from the person’s driving record.

If a person is convicted of DUI in Indiana, expungement offers a route to remove the offense (and any others) from the individual’s criminal record after the timeframe specified under Indiana expungement laws has passed. To petition for expungement of a criminal record in Indiana, those convicted of a misdemeanor must wait five years after being convicted of the crime (or another misdemeanor crime).

For Level 6 felony convictions, individuals may petition for expungement eight years after their last conviction. Level 5 felony charges require a waiting period of eight to ten years after the last conviction or three to five years after completing the imposed sentence, whichever is later.

How Can a Fishers DUI Attorney Help?

When you are arrested and charged with OVWI in Indiana, your best move is to seek legal help as soon as possible. Your DUI defense attorney can counsel and protect you during questioning, represent you at hearings, question evidence against you, and negotiate with the prosecuting attorney to achieve the best results possible in your case.

Contact a Fishers DUI Attorney at Camden & Meridew

Josiah J. Swinney is a Fishers DUI attorney with years of experience defending clients against criminal charges throughout Indiana. Dedicated to protecting the rights of those facing criminal charges, he is skilled at identifying violations of rights, improper procedures, and other factors that can benefit the defense. He also represents clients in criminal appeals and will fight until your case reaches a just conclusion. Contact Josiah at Camden & Meridew, P.C., conveniently located in Fishers, Indiana, by calling 317-770-0000 or completing the firm’s online contact form.