As public outcry against intoxicated driving has increased over the years, many states have increased their penalties substantially. Indiana is one of those states. Even if it’s your first OWI, you face an uphill battle when you consider administrative penalties, possible jail time, and criminal fines. Learn more about what to expect after getting arrested and how you can protect your rights after an OWI charge.
Operating While Intoxicated in Indiana
In Indiana, a first-offense operating while intoxicated charge is a misdemeanor. If you are seen swerving, speeding up or slowing down randomly, or otherwise driving erratically, you’ll likely be pulled over under suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
Getting Arrested and What Happens Next
During the investigation, the officer may want to get confirmation of your intoxication through a chemical test or blood draw. They may test your level at a local medical facility or the police station. Plan on spending some time in jail prior to being allowed to bond out.
It’s important to contact an Indianapolis OWI attorney as soon as possible after getting arrested. Much like in any other criminal case, anything you say can and will be used against you—even if you’re trying to defend yourself. A statement like “I only had a couple drinks” is an admission and can be used against you in court. Once you’ve hired an attorney, they’ll advise you on your options and protect you from self-incrimination.
Possible Penalties for an OWI
A number of factors influence your sentencing. You could be facing several types of consequences:
- Misdemeanor charges. Most first-time offenders are charged with misdemeanors.
- Felony charges. You could be facing serious prison time if you get felony charges. Factors like having a minor in the car at the time of arrest, causing an injury, or causing death, and prior conviction(s) for OWI can increase the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony.
- Fines. Fines vary between misdemeanor and felony levels. Misdemeanor fines can be as high as $5000 and felony fines can be as much as $10,000.
- Prison time. In some cases there is required jail time but much depends on the severity of your offense and the surrounding circumstances.
How We Can Help
OWI offenders often face swift, harsh punishments in the legal system. Having an Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer is crucial if you want to minimize your penalties and protect your rights. At Rigney Law LLC, we will analyze a number of defense options and choose the best option for your circumstances. Call us today to explore your options—you can schedule a consultation by calling 317-623-0992.