If an officer pulls you over based on a suspicion that you have been drinking, you may be wondering what will happen. The laws regarding operating while intoxicated are strict, and there are various penalties you may face if convicted.
The specific penalties vary based on a variety of factors, including the blood alcohol concentration and whether there are previous OWIs.
Blood alcohol concentration limits
The BAC limit in Indiana for drivers 21 years of age and older is .08. However, those with a .15 or higher BAC may face stiffer penalties. There is zero tolerance for drivers under the age of 21, and the BAC limit is .02.
Consequences of refusing the breath test
When a law enforcement officer has probable cause to arrest a driver on suspicion DUI, they may ask the person to submit to an evidentiary chemical test — often a breath test. Indiana is an implied consent state, which means all licensed drivers consent to chemical testing if arrested for suspicion of OWI. If the driver refuses the evidentiary chemical test, the first-time penalty is license suspension for one year, and it can increase with subsequent OWI charges and chemical test refusals.
Penalties for an OWI conviction
If there is an OWI conviction, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute outlines the various penalties. These vary based on whether it is the driver’s first or subsequent offense, and they include:
- Minimum court fees of $300
- Fines ranging from $5,000 to $10,000
- Potential jail time of up to three years
- License suspension
- Substance abuse education course
- Potential community service
The convicted driver will also be under probation, which requires random urine tests and other requirements.