When it comes to road safety, Indiana, like every other state, has strict rules in place to ensure that our roads remain as safe as possible. One of the most stringent regulations pertains to driving while intoxicated (DWI), commonly referred to in some other states as driving under the influence (DUI). Here’s a deep dive into Indiana’s criminal law concerning DWI charges. Contact Stidham Legal for a free case consultation.
1. The Basics: BAC Limits
The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level determines intoxication. For drivers:
- 21 years and older: The legal limit is 0.08%.
- Commercial drivers: The limit is 0.04%.
- Drivers under 21: Any detectable level of alcohol is illegal.
2. Implied Consent Law
If you drive in Indiana, you’ve implicitly given your consent for a chemical test (like a breath, blood, or urine test). Refusal to take this test when suspected of DWI can result in a driver’s license suspension, even if you are not ultimately convicted of DWI.
3. Penalties for DWI in Indiana
The penalties for DWI depend on the nature of the offense and the driver’s past record. Here’s a breakdown:
- First offense: Up to 1 year in jail, fines up to $5,000, and license suspension for up to 2 years.
- Second offense (within 7 years): 5 days to 3 years in jail, fines up to $10,000, and license suspension for 180 days to 2 years.
- Third and subsequent offenses: 10 days to 3 years in jail, fines up to $10,000, and license suspension for 1 to 10 years.
It’s essential to note that penalties can become more severe if there were aggravating factors involved, like causing an accident, driving with a minor in the car, or having a particularly high BAC.
4. Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
In certain cases, drivers may be ordered to install an IID in their vehicles. This device requires the driver to blow into it before starting the vehicle. If alcohol is detected, the car will not start.
5. Impact on Driving Record and Insurance
A DWI conviction will remain on your driving record, which can lead to increased insurance premiums. Moreover, multiple offenses can lead to you being labeled a “habitual traffic violator” with even more severe consequences.
6. Can You Contest a DWI Charge?
Absolutely. Legal defenses can be mounted, depending on the circumstances of the arrest. This might include challenging the validity of the traffic stop, the accuracy of the BAC test, or the procedures followed by law enforcement. If you’re charged with a DWI, it’s essential to consult with an attorney experienced in Indiana DWI laws to evaluate your case.
Driving while intoxicated is a severe offense in Indiana with substantial repercussions. However, like any legal matter, each case has its unique set of facts. The best course of action is always to avoid driving under the influence altogether. But if you find yourself facing a charge, make sure you understand the law and seek proper legal representation.