In Indiana, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) is a very serious crime. Those convicted face a range of penalties, including jail time, fines, license suspension, and more. These penalties only increase the more offenses you have on record.
It is important for you to understand what you are up against when arrested for OWI. This guide goes over a few of the basics, including what happens after the conviction.
What to expect during the arrest
IN.gov lays out the arrest process for those experiencing an OWI arrest in the state. The officer will request you take a breath test, and you will lose your license for one year if you refuse. Implied consent laws state that all drivers consent to breath testing when driving on Indiana roads. If the breath test is positive, you will be cuffed and taken to jail. The police will also have your vehicle towed, and the costs for towing are your responsibility. A breath test reading .08% or higher means an automatic license suspension for at least 30 days.
What happens if you are convicted of OWI
Penalties depend on how many prior offenses you have. First offenses entail up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, and license suspension of no longer than two years. With second offenses, a minimum five-day jail sentence is mandatory, but you can serve up to three years in jail. Fines also increase, with a maximum fine of $10,000. License suspensions for second offenses range from 180 days to 2 years.
The penalties increase even further by the third offense. Ten-day minimum jail sentences, fines up to $10,000, and a mandatory license suspension of 1 year are all associated with third OWI offenses. If you are a habitual substance offender, you will receive additional jail time.