Many people, especially some college students, don't realize how serious an OWI charge is. They shrug it off as a night spent in the drunk tank. Maybe you get stuck with a ticket. It's nothing that won't blow over in a couple weeks, right? They could not be more wrong.
Indiana takes OWIs very seriously, and for good reason. Over a third of all fatal car accidents in our state include at least one drunk driver. Nationwide, just under 19 percent of all drunk driving accidents are caused by intoxicated college students. Cops know the danger these young people pose to themselves and others and will not hesitate to crack down on offenders.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of an OWI, speak to a skilled DUI attorney immediately. Even when things look bad, they will do everything they can to defend your rights and develop an effective defense.
Penalties for a first time OWI
Even if you are a first-time offender, you can expect your OWI to come with the following repercussions:
Fines - An OWI conviction comes with fines of up to $500, or $5000 for someone with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent.
Jail - A first-time offender will make a trip to jail where they will spend 30 to 60 days behind bars, or up to a full year if their blood alcohol content was 0.15 percent or higher.
License suspension - Driving privileges will be revoked for anywhere from 90 days to 2 years.
Ignition interlock - The court has the power to mandate that the offender's car be fitted with what is effectively a breathalyzer the driver will need to use before starting their vehicle.
Treatment - The court may also mandate that the offender receive drug or alcohol treatment.
Alcohol insurance - For 3 years after the OWI conviction the driver will need additional liability insurance on their car in the form of SR-22 auto insurance.
Criminal record - Finally, your OWI will be on your criminal and driving record permanently, and for the next 5 years it will be a factor for all background checks.
All totaled, the ripples from having one too many and trying to drive home are much larger than having to sleep it off in a drunk tank. Be safe while on the roads, and if you are unsure about your ability to drive, get a ride with a friend or a rideshare. Your car will be there in the morning.