Imagine spending Saturday at the lake, barbequing with friends. After a full day of burgers and beer, you head back into to town. When you are only a few blocks from your apartment, red and blue lights suddenly flash in your review mirror. A police officer is pulling you over. Only a short time later, the police officer is putting you in the back of the squad car to drive you to the station. You are about to be booked on a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge.
Questions are flying through your head, such as what will happen if the court convicts you? Will the university suspend you? What about your financial aid? DWI convictions can have very serious consequences, even for first time offenders. Fortunately, an experienced attorney in the Bloomington area can help you fight the charges. Read further for more information on Indiana DWI laws.
Blood alcohol concentration
In Indiana, the court only needs to see a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent in order to rule against the defendant. This means that the court does not require any other evidence, such as the results of a field test, in order to pass down a conviction.
The court will issue a punishment based on the BAC results, prior offenses, and the age of any passengers that were in the car. For example, you might face a harsher penalty if there were minors in the car when the officer stopped you. If you are a first-time offender with a BAC between 0.08 percent and 0.15 percent and your charge is a Class C misdemeanor, you might be facing a maximum of 60 days behind bars and a $500 fine.
If your BAC was over 0.15 percent, the court will charge you with a Class A misdemeanor. This charge carries a maximum of one year in jail and no more than $5,000 in fines. If you are over 21 and you had a passenger in the car under the age of 18, the court might charge you with a Level 6 felony. A conviction for this charge typically comes with a jail term of six months to two and a half years along with a $10,000 fine. The circumstances of your particular offense will play a part in the charges against you.
In additional penalties, you may also be responsible for administrative penalties. For example, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles may suspend or revoke your license. Depending on your specific situation, you might be able to apply for a hardship license during the suspension. Furthermore, you may have to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed on your car.
A DWI conviction in Indiana can have some very serious, long-term consequences. If you have been charged with a DWI, contact a Bloomington attorney for answers to your questions and help structuring a strong defense.