If you have been arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving, you may be facing serious legal ramifications. Understanding what type of charge a DUI is and the penalties associated with a guilty verdict may help you to see how important it is that you clear your name of all charges.
Below, we go into greater detail about how and when a DUI, known as an operating while intoxicated (OWI) charge in Indiana, will be considered a felony and what to expect if you are convicted of such a charge.
When an OWI Becomes a Felony
Generally speaking, when a person is first charged with and convicted of an OWI charge, the crime is considered a misdemeanor but will still remain on the person’s record permanently. However, a drunk driving charge can become a felony in Indiana when a drunk driver has multiple offenses on their record over a period of time.
If you happened to cause serious bodily injury to another person or killed them due to your drunk driving, you would not be charged with a misdemeanor first, and could instead face felony manslaughter or vehicular homicide charges.
Consequences of an Indiana Drunk Driving Conviction
The consequences for being convicted of a misdemeanor versus a felony are far less severe but can still haunt you for the rest of your life. In either case, you can expect to face the possibility of significant fines, time behind bars, community service, probation, and license suspension or revocation, as well as be required to complete a drug or alcohol treatment program or driver retraining program or have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your vehicle once you are able to drive again.
The IID will force you to blow into a Breathalyzer that can determine if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels are at or above the legal limit. If they are, the IID will prevent you from being able to drive until your blood alcohol levels have gone down to below the legal limit.
Penalties for a felony conviction are quite similar, except they might also include prison time and possibly parole. Once you have completed your sentence, your criminal record will always reflect your conviction.
This will likely have a negative impact on your life when you need to provide your consent for a background check to further your life in some way, such as when you apply for your dream job or want to go back to school but need federal student loans.
Get Help from an Indiana DUI Lawyer
You are under no legal obligation to hire a lawyer to defend your case. But as you can see, the consequences for being found guilty are severe, and if you want to put this entire experience behind you, getting help from a qualified Indiana DUI lawyer at Rowdy G. Williams Law Firm could make all the difference in your case.
You can schedule a free consultation with one of our esteemed attorneys by filling out the brief contact form located at the bottom of this page or giving our office a call at 1-812-232-7400.