Second OWI Offense in Indiana

The administrative and criminal penalties for a second OWI/DUI in Indiana.

In Indiana, driving under the influence (DUI) is usually referred to as “operating while intoxicated” (OWI). Indiana’s OWI laws prohibit driving a vehicle:

Following an OWI arrest, an offender generally faces administrative (license related) penalties and criminal penalties if convicted of OWI in court.

Administrative Penalties

License suspension. Under Indiana’s implied consent law, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) will suspend the license of any driver who’s arrested for OWI and fails or refuses to take a chemical test. Generally, a person fails a chemical test if the results indicate a BAC of .08% or more. If an offender has at least one previous OWI conviction, the suspension periods are:

  • 180 days for a failed test, and
  • two years for refusing to submit to a test.

After an administrative suspension, the BMV will reinstate the person’s driving privileges if:

  • the criminal OWI charge is dismissed, or
  • the offender was found not guilty of the OWI charge and didn’t refuse to submit to a chemical test.

Specialized driving privileges. As long as a motorist didn’t refuse a chemical test, the offender can obtain specialized driving privileges to drive during the suspension period. Specialized driving privileges can be granted for 180 days to two and a half years and the offender is generally required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in the vehicle.

Criminal Penalties

Jail, fines, and community service. A second OWI offense is a level 6 felony if the previous OWI conviction occurred within five years of the current OWI offense or the defendant:

  • is at least 21 years old
  • had a BAC of .15% or more or drove a vehicle in a manner that endangered another person, and
  • had a passenger under 18 years of age in the vehicle.

A level 6 felony carries a sentence of six months to two and one-half years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

A second OWI conviction is a class 5 felony if the defendant’s previous OWI conviction caused death or serious bodily injury. A level 5 felony carries a sentence of one to six years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Regardless of whether the second OWI conviction is class 5 or 6 felony, all second OWI convictions require a minimum sentence of five days in jail or 240 hours of community service.

License suspension. In addition to the administrative suspension discussed above, the court can impose a license suspension if the defendant is convicted of OWI. The suspension periods can be up to the maximum period of incarceration allowed for the offense. For a second OWI conviction, the suspension periods are:

  • six months to two and one-half years if the defendant is convicted of a level 6 felony OWI, and
  • one to six years if the defendant is convicted of a level 5 felony OWI.

The time the offender’s license was administratively suspended for failing a chemical test is credited towards the court suspension. However, a defendant whose license was suspended for refusing a chemical test is ineligible to receive credit towards the court suspension.

Specialized driving privileges. When a defendant’s license has been suspended by the court for an OWI conviction, the court can grant specialized driving privileges for at least 180 days and up to two and a half years. To obtain privileges, the defendant is generally required to install an IID in the vehicle.

Alcohol/drug assessment and treatment. Second OWI offenders are required to undergo an assessment to determine the person’s degree of alcohol and/or drug abuse. If appropriate, the defendant must complete an alcohol or drug abuse treatment program. A defendant who suffers from alcohol abuse must complete an alcohol deterrent program.

Victim impact program. Generally, all OWI offenders are required to attend and pay for the costs of a victim impact program (VIP). Offenders must participate in a panel of speakers who have been affected by OWI drivers and visit one of the following:

  • an emergency medical facility
  • a coroner’s facility, or
  • a chronic alcoholism treatment center.

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