When a person drives while intoxicated (DWI), also known as operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), he or she could be convicted and face severe penalties depending on a variety of factors. Blood alcohol content (BAC), the age of the defendant, and prior convictions all contribute to the severity of the charge.
For example, a 1st DWI conviction with a BAC ranging between 0.08% and 0.15% is a Class C misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. However, if a driver’s BAC exceeds 0.15%, it becomes a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
Any individual under the age of 21 can face typical DWI charges even if their BAC is only 0.02%. The severity of this punishment is because of Indiana’s zero-tolerance policy. Even if an underage drinker doesn’t drink enough to feel drunk, he or she can still be charged and convicted of drinking and driving. This can result in a Class C infraction or a ticket punishable by a fine of up to $500.
Likewise, the more infractions you have on your record, the more severe your penalties will be. A prior conviction of a 2nd DWI in the last 5 years could lead to a felony conviction, which can result in a 6-month to 2.5-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $10,000.
The most severe penalties are reserved for repeat offenders and DWIs that involve the severe injury or death of another person. A serious bodily injury caused by a DWI is a Level 5 felony, which is punishable by 1 to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The death of a person can be a Level 5 felony or could be a Level 4 felony if the accused had a prior DWI in the last 5 years, his or her license was suspended, or he or she had a BAC of 0.15% or higher. A Level 4 felony can lead to a 2- to 12-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $10,000. Each person killed or injured in an accident is also treated as an additional offense.
If you’re facing a DWI charge, make sure you give yourself the best chance of fighting a conviction. Talk to one of our skilled Muncie DWI attorneys about your case as soon as possible. We are dedicated to helping people defend their rights and freedom.
Contact us at (765) 663-4009 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation with us today.