Indiana First Offense OWI Laws

Indiana OWI Laws

The consequences and penalties you will be facing if arrested on a first offense OWI charge in Indiana can be extreme in some cases. You can be found guilty of a first offense OWI in one of two ways. The first is for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or an intoxicant while displaying signs of impairment typically found in people who have been consuming alcohol or drugs. It is not necessary to have a blood alcohol level above the legal limit of .08% to be arrested.

The second is for violating Indiana's "per se" law. The "per se" law states that is against the law for any person to operate a motor vehicle on Indiana roadways with a blood alcohol concentration level of .08% or greater. It does not matter whether or not the person exhibits the signs typically associated with being under the influence, the fact that their BAC level is .08% or greater is grounds for arrest.

Indiana OWI First Offense Penalties



As long as your BAC level was less than .15% your first offense OWI charge will be a misdemeanor charge. For BAC levels up to .149% you will either have to spend 5 days in jail or perform community service instead of jail time. If your BAC level was .15% or greater you will be facing up to 1-year in jail, with the first 48 hours of the sentence being served consecutively. There is a minimum jail sentence of 10 days for having a passenger under 18 in the vehicle, this is also a Class D Felony.

The fine amount for a BAC of less than .15% is $500, for a BAC of .15% or greater the fine amount can be up to $5,000 plus court costs. Your license will be suspended for 180 days as long as you submitted to a chemical test. If you refused the chemical test your license will be revoked for 1-year with no chance of receiving a hardship license.

For BAC levels below .15% you may be able to serve community service time in lieu of jail time. First time offenders will also be required to complete a state approved alcohol or drug assessment. You may also be required to attend an alcohol abuse program.

Once you complete your license suspension period you will be required to complete an SR22 filing with the BMV before thye will reinstate your license. You can obtain your SR22 insurance filing by entering your zip code below and completing the short form on the following page:

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Indiana Administrative Drivers License Hearing

When you are arrested on a first offense OWI charge in Indiana the arresting officer will take possession of your driver's license and issue you a receipt that will work as your temporary license for the next 10 days.

Important: You only have 10 days from the date of your arrest to schedule an administrative hearing with theIndiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles if you hope to avoid the administrative suspension of your license for a "per se" violation. The administrative suspension of your license will be for 180 days if you failed the chemical test or, for 1-year if you refused to submit to a chemical test.

That is why it is so very important that you contact one of our Indiana OWI lawyers today to discuss your case and to have our lawyers schedule your administrative hearing. Our lawyers are very skilled when it comes to representing clients at Indiana administrative hearings.

The administrative hearing with the BMV will be conducted by a representative of the BMV who has been trained to conduct these hearings. The purpose of the hearing will be for the BMV to confirm whether or not the arresting officer followed the proper procedures during the arrest? Whether or not you submitted to a chemical test and whether or not the officer explained the additional penalties for refusal to submit? Whether or not your blood alcohol level was .08% or greater?

Once the BMV hearing representative has reviewed all of the evidence for and against you and heard testimony from all parties, they will render their decision regarding the suspension of your license. If the decision is in your favor, your license will be returned and the OWI arrest will be removed from your driving record.

If the decision is that the officer's suspension of your license was justified, your 180 day suspension period will begin (if you submitted to a chemical test), or 1-year suspension (if you refused the chemical test). If you submitted to a chemical test you will be eligible for a hardship license after serving the first 30 days of your suspension. Anyone who refused a chemical test will not be eligible for a hardship license.

Indiana SR22 Insurance Information & Quotes

Before the Indiana BMV will issue you a hardship license or before fully reinstating your license following your suspension period you will be required to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of an SR-22 filing with the BMV. An SR-22 filing is a form that your insurance provider will file with the BMV on your behalf. This form shows the BMV that you have taken out an insurance policy that meets the state's minimum insurance requirements.

OWI offenders will be required to maintain their SR-22 filing with the BMV for a period of 3-years from the date of reinstatement. If you fail to maintain your SR22 insurance the BMV will cancel your license and send you a letter stating that fact. If this occurs you will need to have your insurer submit a new SR-22 form to the BMV in order to have a new license issued. To help prevent a potential lapse in SR22 insurance coverage you should get multiple quotes from various insurers to compare rates before applying for an SR22 policy.



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Additional Indiana OWI Resources

  • Indiana OWI Laws - A complete overview of Indiana OWI laws including fines, jail time and penalties for each offense.

  • Indiana SR22 Insurance -  Learn everything you need to know about Indiana SR22 filing requirements with the DMV and find out how you can save hundreds of dollars each year on your Indiana SR22 insurance.

  • Indiana DUI Lawyers -   Contact one of our Indiana DUI lawyers today.

  • Indiana Alcohol & Drug Assessment Programs - We offer a complete listing of Indiana approved alcohol assessment program locations.