Unravel The Complexities of Your DUI Case!

Driving under the influence (DUI) is against the law in Indiana. It’s called Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). If you’re caught driving drunk or on drugs in Indianapolis, you could be in big trouble. That could mean hefty fines, jail time, or even worse charges. Learning about OWI is important because it’s a serious risk. When you drive under the influence, you put yourself, others on the road, and your whole future in danger.

“Is it necessary to have a DUI attorney in Indianapolis?” That is one of the most common questions that people in Indianapolis have whenever they become involved in DUI cases. While not mandated by law to have a lawyer, it is essential to keep in mind that DUI charges can result in permanent license suspension, hefty fines, and deprivation of liberty for months or even years.

Short Summary:

  • A DUI can result in license suspension, hefty fines, and even jail time. These penalties increase with each offense.
  • A DUI conviction can have long-term consequences for employment and insurance. An attorney can help minimize the impact on your life.
  • There are ways to get DUI charges dismissed if police lacked proper reason to stop you, made mistakes administering field sobriety tests, or the breathalyzer malfunctioned.
  • DUIs can be erased from your record after a period of good behavior through expungement, depending on the severity of the offense.
  • Indiana enforces harsher punishments for subsequent DUIs, and causing injury while driving drunk can lead to criminal charges.

What is Driving Under the Influence (DUI)?

Driving under the influence (DUI), also called OWI in Indiana, is a serious problem nationwide. It can cause deadly accidents, hurting the driver, passengers, or even people outside the car. That’s why Indiana has tough laws against DUI.

Getting caught with a DUI in Indiana can mean big fines, losing your license, and even jail time, even for your first offense. You might also have to go to a class where you learn about the victims of DUI crashes.

To avoid an OWI, it’s crucial to know the legal limit for alcohol in your system. This information will help you understand Indiana’s DUI laws and what happens if you get caught driving drunk.

Is DUI a Felony in Indiana?

Getting caught driving under the influence is a big deal in Indiana. You could face a hefty fine or even jail time. But it gets even worse if your DUI is considered a felony. A felony DUI can hurt you for a long time, making it hard to get a job, rent a place to live, or even land a loan. You might even go to prison.

In Indiana, a DUI is a felony if you’ve been convicted three or more times in the past ten years. Most first-time offenders get charged with a misdemeanor, not a felony. But any DUI after that can have harsher punishments. Driving drunk in a work truck or bus can be a felony too.

How Do Police Catch Drunk Drivers in Indiana?

Police look for drunk drivers in a few ways. They often pull over cars in busy areas, especially at night and on holidays. If there have been a lot of DUI crashes in a specific area, they might set up checkpoints to stop everyone and check for drunk drivers. They might also pull you over if you’re driving weirdly, like swerving or going too slow.

If the police suspect you’re drunk, they might ask you to do some tests to see if you’re okay to drive. They might also use a breathalyzer to measure your alcohol level. In Indiana, the legal limit is .08%. If you go over that, you’ll get a DUI.

Even if you think you’ll fail a breathalyzer, refusing the test is a bad idea. Refusing the test automatically means you lose your license for a year, on top of any other charges you get. If you’ve been caught DUI before and refuse the test again, you lose your license for two years.

What Penalties Can I Possibly Face?

If you get a DUI and break another traffic law at the same time, you could face more trouble. For example, a speeding ticket might not be a big deal, but running a red light or driving the wrong way can cause serious accidents.

If you hurt someone in a DUI accident, you might face criminal charges from the state and a lawsuit from the person you hurt.

Indiana has tougher penalties the more DUIs you get. The punishment also depends on how bad the DUI was, like if you caused an accident, had people under 21 in the car, or how old you are.

A first-time DUI could mean fines, losing your license, or even jail time. But if you get caught again, the punishments get worse:

  • First offense: Up to one year in jail, up to $5,000 fines, and lose your license for up to 2 years.
  • Second offense (within five years): At least five days to three years in jail, up to $10,000 fine, and lose your license for up to 2 and a half years.
  • Third offense: Ten days to three years in jail, up to $10,000 fines, and lose your license for up to two and a half years.

What Can a DUI Be Reduced to in Indiana? 

There might be ways to get a lesser charge:

  • First-time offense? If you didn’t hurt anyone, a lawyer might be able to get a “wet reckless” charge instead of a DUI.
  • Willing to take classes? Sometimes, the prosecutor lets you avoid a DUI if you take an alcohol program. It costs money and takes time, but keeps a DUI off your record.

Can a DUI Be Dismissed in Indiana? 

Yes, your DUI case can be dismissed. We list some possible defenses below:

  • Cops pulled you over for no reason? That can get your charges dropped. The police need a good reason to stop you. If they don’t have one, pieces of evidence they find can’t be used in court.
  • Breathalyzer messed up? Maybe the machine wasn’t working right, or the officer messed up the test. In that case, the results might not be reliable.
  • Field sobriety test not done properly? There are rules for these tests. If the officer didn’t follow them, the results might not hold up in court.

How Do I Get My DUI Off My Record in Indiana? 

Expungement can erase a DUI case from most background checks. That means landlords, loan officers, and even future employers might not see it. Why is this a big deal? Because a DUI on your record can make it tough to rent a place, get a loan, or even land a job.

Most first-time DUIs in Indiana are minor offenses. If yours was one of these, you could usually get it erased after five years of good behavior. That means no new crimes, paying all fines, and following the rules.

That also applies even if your DUI started as a more severe charge but got reduced to a lesser one.

However, some DUIs in Indiana are more severe than others. These can happen if it’s your second DUI in seven years, you hurt a police animal while driving drunk, or you drove drunk with a minor in the car and did one of these:

  • BAC of .15 or higher
  • Drugs in your system
  • Drove dangerously

If your DUI was one of these and didn’t hurt anyone, it might still be erased after eight years of good behavior. That means no new crimes, paying all fines, and following the rules.

Some DUIs in Indiana can be very serious, like if someone got badly hurt. These are harder to erase from your record than other DUIs.

Even if it’s been eight years or more since your conviction, you’ll still need a judge’s approval to get it erased. And judges often say no to these requests.

Get Effective Legal Representation Now!

Fighting a DUI can be scary, and the laws are complicated. Trying to go to court by yourself is a bad idea. A competent DUI attorney in Indianapolis can help you understand your options and fight your charges. They know the ins and outs of the legal system and can guide you through the process. Don’t go it alone – get help from a lawyer!

Running into legal trouble can be stressful, and a DUI isn’t the only issue we can help you with at Wilson & Kinsman LLC. Our Indiana legal team has over 50 years of experience fighting for our clients. We can help you with felonies, misdemeanors, probation violations, and criminal defense. No matter what legal problem you’re facing, we’re here to fight hard and get you the best possible outcome. Get an initial consultation today!

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Read what our former clients have to say:

Honest and professional

I was charged with an OWI in Elkhart County and Eric was my first call. He was very helpful and personable throughout the entire process. I certainly appreciated his honesty and professionalism. Eric is definitely well experienced in handling these matters. Thanks to his help and guidance, we were able to have all of our necessary steps done before going to court that helped to retain driving privileges. The judge even remarked at how well the case had been managed during the hearing. With Eric’s help, I was able to obtain specialized driving privileges very promptly. I am still able to tend to my life’s responsibilities and my work. I would highly recommend Eric to anyone else needing help with OWI/DUI charges.


A man of utmost integrity

Tom is very kind and personable. He is a great attorney to work for and work with. He is a man of the utmost integrity and is forthright in his practice. I would confidently recommend his legal services to any person I cared about.

Kayla Christofeno