While first-time DUI offenders face stiff penalties, the penalty for a second DUI is considerably worse. A second DUI charge may result in criminal charges.
It might result in jail time and substantial fines, and it will be on your record for the remainder of your life. If you’ve been charged with a second DUI, you should immediately consult with counsel.
DUI is sometimes referred to in Indiana as “operating while intoxicated” (OWI). A person may be found in violation of the law in one of two ways under Indiana’s DUI/OWI legislation.
In Indiana, anybody caught driving under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or another intoxicant with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or above faces DUI or OWI charges.
However, if the arresting officer observes the motorist exhibiting symptoms of impairment before the stop, or if the driver fails any component of a field sobriety test after being stopped, the driver may still be charged with DUI/OWI in Indiana (if taken). If an officer observes slurred speech or other signs of impairment, they may establish probable cause for the driver’s arrest.
OWI Administrative (License-Related) and Criminal Penalties
If a driver refuses or fails a chemical test following an arrest for OWI, their license will be revoked by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
If a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or above, they are considered to have failed a chemical test. Offenders with at least one prior OWI conviction risk a two-year driving prohibition and a 180-day suspension if they refuse to submit to testing.
The BMV will reinstate the driver’s license following an administrative suspension if the criminal OWI case is dismissed or the offender is found not guilty of the OWI charge and does not refuse to submit to a chemical test.
A previous OWI conviction within five years of the current incident, being at least 21 years old, having a BAC greater than or equal to 0.15 percent, or driving recklessly are all grounds for a Level 6 felony prosecution for a second OWI offense.
A Level 6 felony has a mandatory minimum sentence of six months to two and a half years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
If the defendant’s first OWI conviction resulted in death or serious bodily harm, a second OWI conviction is a Level 5 felony. Level 5 violations carry a sentence of one to six years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
If the defendant is convicted of driving while intoxicated, the defendant’s license may be suspended, and the court may prolong suspension periods up to the maximum length of jail time permitted, depending on the nature of the offense.
When a defendant is convicted of a Level 6 felony OWI, the offender faces a six-month prison sentencing of two and a half years. When convicted of an OWI Level 5, the penalty is one to six years.
When an Indiana court or the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) suspends a driver’s license, a person with specialized driving privileges (SDP) may drive for specified purposes.
(A conviction for OWI may result in the suspension of a defendant’s driver’s license, which the court may reinstate with restricted driving privileges for up to two and a half years. Typically, terms of SDP require the driver to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their car before being granted driving privileges.
Testing and Assessment of Alcohol and Other Substances
Offenders convicted of a second OWI are required to submit to an assessment to ascertain their alcohol or drug usage level, whichever is greater.
If it is decided that the defendant requires alcohol or drug abuse treatment, they will be ordered to receive it. A defendant who has a history of alcohol misuse is mandated to participate in an alcohol deterrent program.
The expectation is for all OWI offenders to attend and pay for victim impact programs (VIP). Offenders must participate in a meeting with victims of drunk driving at one of the following locations:
- Medical facility with ambulance service on call
- Chronic Alcoholism Treatment Center
- Coroner’s Office
Indiana OWI Charges Are Indiscriminately Intolerant
A single DUI arrest might result in significant stress. Indiana’s sentencing standards make it quite clear that drunken driving is a severe offense.
A first conviction for drunken driving is classified as a Class C misdemeanor, but a second DUI arrest is considered a subsequent offense with a sterner punishment when it occurs within five years of the initial offense.
In addition to imprisonment, supervised probation, license suspension, and hefty fines, community service, victim impact panels, Moms Against Drunk Driving conferences, rehabilitation, alcohol, and drug education seminars, ignition interlock devices, and house arrest, among other measures, may be added to an offender’s punishment at the judge’s personal and professional discretion.
Are a Reduced Sentence or Dismissed Charges Possible for Second Offense DUI Indiana?
You may be eligible for a reduced sentence or dismissal if you are guilty of a second DUI. Your attorney should be familiar with the way Indianapolis courts handle DUI cases.
Due to the varying offense classifications possible for second DUIs, they are called wobblers since they can be either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the severity. As a result of these and other considerations, your attorney may be able to convince the court to reduce the number of charges against you.
As soon as you are apprehended, you should begin assembling a compelling case with your lawyer for your second DUI to be reduced. Additionally, it is critical to retain legal counsel as soon as you are arrested.
Along with lowering the criminal charges and suspending your license, your attorney might build a strong enough defense to get the charges dismissed entirely. It is still possible for law enforcement to make errors in circumstances involving a second DUI. For example, you may have been charged in error due to an improper or unreasonable traffic stop.
Your lawyer may fight a second DUI charge in several different ways, including bringing light to these possibilities:
- You weren’t the actual driver, or you were mistaken for another driver.
- It is not the first instance of police violating your civil liberties.
- The officer used damaged BAC testing equipment, or it was being utilized improperly.
- The police lacked a legitimate reason to detain you.
- A pollutant in the environment contaminated your breath sample.