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Jun 24 2017

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What is the difference between a DUI, OWI, OVWI, DWI, OVI, OUI, DWAI, OUI, etc.

These terms are all acronyms that refer to the offense commonly known as drunk driving. Different states have slightly different names for the crime. For example, in Texas the charge is known as driving while intoxicated or DWI.

Indiana law uses the phrase operating a vehicle while intoxicated so the terms OVWI or OWI or OVI are often used. However, many Indiana residents continue to use the term DUI to refer to the same offense. DUI or driving under the influence is the acronym most commonly used throughout the United States. The terms OWI, OVWI, and DUI are used interchangeably throughout this website.

I just got arrested for an Indiana DUI offense. What happens now?

ISSUE ONE:The Indiana Implied Consent Proceeding: Under Indiana law, a person who operates a vehicle impliedly consents to submit to the chemical test provisions of this chapter as a condition of operating a vehicle. IC 9-30-6-1.

If you failed (BAC .08 or greater; lower for minors) or refused to submit to a chemical (usually a breath) test, your Indiana drivers license (or your right to drive in Indiana if you re not a licensed driver) will likely be suspended for anywhere from 180 days to up to two years.

ISSUE TWO:The Indiana DUI / OWI Criminal Case: Separate from the administrative (implied consent) suspension is the criminal charge for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Under Indiana law, it is unlawful for a person to operate a vehicle:

(1) With a BAC of 0.08 percent or greater (sometimes referred to as a per se offense); or
(2) With a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance in their body (unless taken pursuant to a valid prescription); or
(3) While intoxicated.

Intoxicated means under the influence of: (1) alcohol; (2) a controlled substance (as defined in IC 35-48-1); (3) a drug other than alcohol or a controlled substance; (4) a substance described in IC 35-46-6-2 or IC 35-46-6-3; or (5) a combination of substances described in (1) through (4); so that there is an impaired condition of thought and action and the loss of normal control of your faculties.

Important: The implied consent suspension and the criminal DUI / OWI case are completely separate proceedings from one another.

Will my Indiana drivers license be suspended or revoked?

RELATED TO ISSUE ONE ABOVE: Your Indiana drivers license (or your right to drive in Indiana if you do not have a valid Indiana license) may be suspended under implied consent law for failing or for refusing a certified chemical test.

RELATED TO ISSUE TWO ABOVE: If you are convicted of the OWI offense, you will also lose your license (or your right to drive in Indiana if you don t have a valid Indiana license) for a year or more. This suspension is separate and distinct from the implied consent suspension. Talk to your Indiana DUI attorney for possible suspension lengths for your situation.

Also keep in mind that your license can be suspended for a variety of reasons unrelated to a OWI arrest e.g. excessive points on your license, etc.

What happens if I get caught operating with a suspended license?

Driving while your license is under suspension should be avoided as it is a new new misdemeanor crime. Penalties include fines, possible jail time, and an additional license suspension. Further, if you are on probation for the DUI offense when you re arrested for operating while suspended, you will face a probation violation allegation as well.

I really need to drive. Will I be able to get a hardship permit / probationary driving privileges?

Probationary driving privileges may be available to you if you took a che mical (breath) test. Put another way, these privileges are not available if you refused a certified chemical test. Probationary driving privileges allow driving only under the following circumstances:

to and from your place of employment;

for specific purposes in exceptional circumstances; and

to and from court ordered treatment.

You must serve at least 30 days of your suspension before becoming eligible. Talk to your Indiana DUI lawyer about whether and when you may qualify for probationary driving privileges.

Is a DUI / OWI offense in Indiana a misdemeanor or felony charge?

In Indiana, a OWI is typically a misdemeanor offense. However, an Indiana OWI becomes a felony offense if you commit an OWI and one of the following apply:

you have a prior OWI conviction in the past five years; or

you re 21 years of age or older and you have a passenger younger than 18 years of age; or

you have a previous conviction of operating while intoxicated while causing death; or

you have a previous conviction of operating while intoxicated while causing serious bodily injury.

What type of penalties might I face if I am convicted of an Indiana DUI charge?

Upon conviction of an Indiana DUI offense, a defendant can receive a variety of penalties including probation. A range of minimum penalties is set forth below:


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