Without a driver’s license, you cannot get yourself to work and back. You can’t drive your kids to school. You have two choices: rely on riding a bicycle, public transit, rideshare services, or rides from friends. Or drive without a valid license and risk getting arrested.
This is what can happen if you are arrested for OWI in Indiana. Also known as DUI or DWI, OWI is what Indiana law calls drinking and driving. It is a serious offense that carries several penalties. Most people charged with OWI think about the possible jail time but might not consider that the law automatically suspends their driver’s license after a conviction, even a first offense.
How long the judge could suspend your driver’s license
For a standard OWI, meaning one with a blood-alcohol level of between .08 and .15 with no aggravating factors, the judge will suspend your license for a minimum of 90 days and up to two years. For a second offense, the minimum suspension goes up to 180 days, and the maximum stays at two years. Finally, a third or subsequent offense will cause you to lose your driving privileges for one to ten years.
A possible solution
You might not realize how much you rely on your ability to drive until it is taken away. But you may have options to get it back. One option is to ask the court for a specialized driving privilege. If you qualify, you could your license restored, based on several conditions. For example, the judge could require you to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. This could help you maintain your independence and avoid losing your job.
To know your options after an OWI arrest and act accordingly, you need a defense attorney’s help. An experienced lawyer can help you sort through what your best strategy is and put that strategy into action.