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Indiana DUI Lawyers

OWI Lawyers Serving Madison County and Hamilton County

If you or a loved one have been accused or charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) in Indiana, the best thing to do is call an experienced OWI lawyer in Anderson. Facing any type of criminal charge without legal representative is unwise. Compared to an experienced prosecutor, you or your relative will be at a disadvantage. You will not know the law as well, you will not have established relationships with the judges, and you will not have an objective view of the case. Your emotions, whether you are angry, nervous, or confused, will influence how you handle the situation.

Instead of fighting to catch up to the prosecutor, hire an experienced DUI defense attorney from GDS Law Group, LLP. We know the ins and outs of Indiana courtrooms, we know how the prosecutors think, and most importantly, we know the law. We will use our knowledge, experience, and resources to fight for you to receive the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us via our online form today or call 765-313-7092 to schedule a consultation.

Indiana OWI/DUI Law

Across the U.S., it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher, if you are at least 21 years old. If you are not of age to drink, then as little as .02 percent of alcohol in your system can lead to criminal charges. If you have a commercial driver’s license and were in your commercial vehicle at the time of the traffic stop, then your legal limit is .04 percent.

Whenever your BAC is above the legal limit, you can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI), also known as operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). Whatever you or the prosecutors call the offense, you are going to need a local DUI attorney to fight it. An experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney will thoroughly review your situation, determine the more effective course to take, and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.

What to Do if You Are Arrested for a OWI in Indiana

If you are pulled over under the suspicion of driving while impaired due to alcohol, drugs, or a combination of intoxicating substances, there are a few steps you should take.

  • Invoke your right to silence right away. The police are going to question you during the traffic stop and after. As soon as you realize you are in real trouble, clearly tell an officer that you are invoking your right to remain silent until you have an attorney present. This is your constitutional right. After this, do not answer any questions. Do not sign any written statements.
  • Call a DUI attorney in Anderson. You can either call a law firm directly, or you can make contact with a friend or family member who will then call GDS Law Group, LLP on your behalf. However you do it, you want a lawyer in Indiana by your side as soon as possible. The sooner we can begin to protect you, the better.

BAC Tests Related to an OWI

When you are pulled over for a DUI, a police officer may ask you to breathe into a portable breath test device, or breathalyzer. You have the right to say no. Keep in mind, refusing a roadside breath test will not prevent an officer from arresting you.

After you are arrested, you may be asked to take a urine, breath, or blood test. Under Indiana’s implied consent law, you have already agreed to submit to any requested chemical tests if you are arrested for drunk driving (IC §9-30-6-1). If you refuse to take any of these tests, you may face an automatic driver’s license suspension. This is a civil penalty, not a criminal punishment, though it can be used against you in court and enhance the penalties for DUI conviction. However, if you refuse a warrantless request for a blood sample, you may only face civil penalties, not additional criminal consequences.

If you refused any BAC test, before or after an arrest, you should speak with an OWI attorney about how this may affect your case. When you refuse a post-arrest chemical test, you should receive notice of your license suspension right away. You only have a brief window of time to contest this, so call GDS Law Group, LLP immediately.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

One way a police officer may try and gain clues that you are intoxicated is to ask you to submit to one or more standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs). These include the walk-and-turn test, the one-leg stand test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test (where your eyes follow a moving object). You are not legally required to comply with these tests. You may refuse to take one or all of these tests, and you cannot face any civil or criminal penalties for your refusal.

If you did submit to one or more SFSTs and were arrested, call an OWI lawyer from GDS Law Group, LLP right away. These physical tests are not accurate or reliable, and they often provide false evidence against you. We will determine how to best counter evidence from SFSTs in court.

Indiana OWI Charges

At GDS Law Group, LLP, our DUI attorneys in Anderson are ready to defend you against all types of OWI charges, including:

Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (OWI) (IC §9-30-5-1(a))

If you have a BAC between .08 and .15 percent while operating a vehicle, you will be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. It is intimidating to face an OWI charge for the first time. When you suddenly find yourself being accused of drunk driving, and you are not sure how you got to this moment, do not hesitate to ask for help. A DUI attorney at GDS Law Group, LLP is ready to defend you against these charges.

OWI with a High BAC (IC §9-30-5-1(b))

If you have a BAC at or above .15 percent, then you will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

Drugged Driving (IC §9-30-5-1(c))

If you operate a vehicle with a Schedule I or II controlled substance or its metabolite in your system, prosecutors will charge you with a Class C misdemeanor.

OWI that Endangers Others (IC §9-30-5-2(b))

An OWI that endangers one or more other people, whether they are in your vehicle, another vehicle, or outside of any vehicle, can lead to Class A misdemeanor charges. You and the prosecutor may have different opinions on whether your actions endangered others or not. If you believe you are facing a higher charge for a DUI than you should be, call a drunk driving attorney right away. An aggressive attorney may be able to have the charges reduced.

Subsequent OWI (IC §9-30-5-3)

Most DUI charges in Indiana are misdemeanors. However, not always. You may be charged with a Level 6 felony OWI if:

  • You have a previous DUI conviction within the previous five years
  • You had at least one minor in the vehicle

You will be charged with a Level 5 felony OWI if you have a previous conviction for DUI that caused serious bodily injury or death.

OWI that Injures Others (IC §9-30-5-4)

If you are accused of committing an OWI or drugged driving, whether or not your BAC was over the legal limit, which caused at least one other person serious bodily injury, then you will be charged with a Level 6 felony. If you have a previous DUI conviction, this becomes a Level 5 felony.

If you ever find yourself facing felony DUI charges, you need to call an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately. A felony is a serious crime, and you want to avoid having one on your record at all costs. Our legal team at GDS Law Group, LLP is prepared to take on your case and fight for the best possible outcome.

Fatal OWI (IC §9-30-5-5)

If the police believe you committed an OWI or drugged driving, whether or not your BAC was over the legal limit, and your actions resulted in at least one other person’s death, then you will be charged with a Level 5 felony.

However, this offense will be raised to a Level 4 felony if:

  • You have a previous DUI/OWI conviction within the previous 10 years
  • Your driving permit or license was revoked or suspended at the time of the OWI
  • Your driving privileges were suspended because you had been deemed a habitual violator
  • You had a high BAC of .15 percent or higher at the time of the OWI

When your actions behind the wheel of a vehicle led to another person’s death and the likelihood of an acquittal is small, then your focus should be on minimizing the consequences of a conviction. At GDS Law Group, LLP, our DWI lawyers have handled all types of OWI cases in which there was a small chance of a not guilty verdict. We will always fight hard for the best possible outcome in your case, which may include doing what we can to minimize the penalties if you are convicted, including limiting any duration of imprisonment.

Penalties for Indiana OWI

If you are convicted of an OWI offense in Indiana, the potential penalty depends on the level of the offense, if there are any mitigating or aggravating factors, and your criminal history.

  • Class C misdemeanor – Up to 60 days in jail and fines reaching $500
  • Class B misdemeanor – Maximum of 180 days in jail and fines up to $1,000
  • Class A misdemeanor – Up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $5,000

You may also be punished with:

  • Home confinement
  • Months or years of probation
  • Community service
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Installation an ignition interlock device on any vehicle you drive
  • Alcohol and drug abuse assessment and treatment
  • A victim impact panel
  • SR-22 insurance

When you face an OWI charge, you need to be fully aware of the worst-case scenario. You also need a drunk driving lawyer to fight for you to receive the best-case scenario. Contact GDS Law Group, LLP to obtain an objective opinion about your case and to discuss how to best defend yourself.

When Drunk Driving Leads to a Felony Charge

You can be charged with DUI if you are driving with a BAC of .08 or higher. As mentioned above, most OWI charges are misdemeanors. However, you could be charged with a felony if you have prior OWI convictions or you caused an accident that resulted in serious injury or death.

Prior Offenses

You could face a felony DUI charge if you have a prior DUI conviction. Under Section 9-30-5-3 of the Indiana Code, you will be charged with a Level 6 felony if you have been convicted of DUI within the last 7 years. This means that your OWI charge will be a felony even if your BAC was barely over the legal limit.

If you were previously convicted of OWI that resulted in serious injury or death, you will be charged with a Level 5 felony, which carries even harsher penalties.

Minor Passengers

You could also face a Level 6 felony charge if you had at least one passenger in the vehicle who was less than 18 years old. Even if this is your first DUI or your BAC was barely over the legal limit, the presence of a passenger who is younger than 18 could expose you to felony charges.

Serious Bodily Injury

If you caused serious bodily injury to another person, you could be charged with a Level 5 OWI offense under Section 9-30-5-4. Your charge could be elevated to a Level 4 felony if you have a prior DUI conviction within the last five years. If you injured multiple people, you could face a separate charge for each person you injured.

Indiana law defines “serious bodily injury” as an injury that “creates a substantial risk of death” or otherwise results in one or more of the following:

  • Serious permanent disfigurement
  • Unconsciousness
  • Extreme pain
  • Permanent loss or impairment of a function of a bodily organ or member
  • Loss of a fetus

As a result, you can be charged with felony OWI if you were involved in an accident and someone was seriously injured, regardless of whether the accident was your fault.

Death or Catastrophic Injury

Under Section 9-30-5-5 of the Indiana Code, it is a Level 4 felony to cause death or catastrophic injury by driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Again, you could face a separate charge for each person injured or killed.

“Catastrophic injury” is defined under Indiana law as “bodily injury so severe that a person’s ability to live independently is significantly impaired for a period of at least one year.” The Indiana Code specifically includes any blindness, paralysis, or intellectual disability as a catastrophic injury.

As you might have guessed, the difference between a “catastrophic injury” and a “serious bodily injury” isn’t always obvious. Unfortunately, it’s an easy way for prosecutors to bring heavier charges against you than you may deserve.

The Penalties You Face for a Felony OWI

Depending on the circumstances of your case and whether you have any prior OWI convictions, you could face a Level 4, 5, or 6 felony OWI charge. The consequences of a conviction of any of those charges are as follows:

  • Level 6 felony: Six months up to 2.5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
  • Level 5 felony: From one to six years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
  • Level 4 felony: Between two and 12 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines

OWI Probation Violation Charges

If you are convicted of an OWI, you will likely be sentenced to months or years of probation. The term of probation depends on the level of the conviction and how much incarceration you were sentenced to complete.

During probation, you must abide by a number of rules and remain in touch with a probation officer. Some of the requirements can be harsh, including alcohol monitoring devices, random BAC testing, and prohibition from entering bars or liquor stores. One of the most important rules of probation is that you cannot break the law. If you are caught breaking the law or violating any rule of your probation, you will be forced to return to court, and you may face a charge for a new, separate crime.

Some example of OWI probation violations include:

  • Driving on a suspended license
  • Driving outside of the bounds of your probationary driving privileges
  • Failing to install an ignition interlock device when it is required
  • Diluting a urine sample
  • Having someone breathe into your ignition interlock device so you can drive after drinking

The consequences of a probation violation could be more immediate and severe. If you are on probation related to a work-release program or at-home detention, and you violate the terms of probation, you can immediately be transferred to jail to carry out your sentence in confinement.

Let an Anderson OWI Lawyer Represent You

If you are facing OWI charges, we are here to help. While we cannot make this an easier process to go through, we can guide you through it with compassion. You can be confident that we will do everything that can be done to achieve a not guilty verdict or minimize the consequences of a conviction.

To learn more, use our online form or call 123-456-7890 to schedule an initial consultation.