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Indiana OWI Laws

Although drunk driving is among the most common crimes committed in the United States, it can take the life of the driver, passengers, other motorists, and even pedestrians. That is why Indiana and other states have such severe penalties for driving under the influence (DUI), which Indiana calls "operating while intoxicated" or simply OWI. Indiana law imposes a fine of up to $5,000; up to one year in prison; up to years' license suspension; mandatory attendance at a victim impact panel (where applicable); and other sanctions for the first offense. Sentences only go up from there, with a fine of up to $10,000 and up to three years in prison for a third offense. And then you have to factor in the cost of legal representation.

The penalties are so strict because the stakes are so high, involving the lives of everyone who uses public roadways. Knowing the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits will help you avoid an OWI. But the following information is intended to help you understand the law and take the next step if you have been charged with impaired driving in Indiana.

Indiana OWI (DUI) Laws: Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits and Implied Consent

"Per Se" BAC Limit 0.08 Percent
Zero Tolerance (Underage) BAC Limit 0.02 Percent
Enhanced Penalty (Aggravated) BAC Limit 0.15 Percent
Implied Consent to Submit to BAC Test? Yes (1 year license suspension for refusal)

Indiana OWI Laws: Select Penalties

Minimum License Suspension or Revocation (1st, 2nd, 3rd offense) 90 days to 2 years / 180 days to 2 years / 1-10 years
Mandatory Alcohol Education, Assessment and Treatment Both (not mandatory)
Vehicle Confiscation Possible? Yes
Ignition Interlock Device Possible? Yes

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Indiana OWI Resources

  • Indiana OWI Statute: Operating While Intoxicated (Indiana Code 9-30-5).
  • Indiana Impaired Driving Laws - Overview of OWI and related offenses, including repercussions for arrests and convictions (Indiana Criminal Justice Institute).
  • License Suspension and Reinstatement - Information about license suspension in Indiana and how to get your license reinstated after the suspension has ended (Indiana Criminal Justice Institute).
  • Impaired Driving Programs - Brief overview of Indiana's impaired driving programs, which are meant to raise awareness and reduce OWIs (Indiana Criminal Justice Institute).
  • Certified IID Models - Listing of ignition interlock devices (IIDs) certified by Indiana for use by impaired driving offenders (Indiana State Dept. of Toxicology)
  • What Are the Indiana OWI Laws? - Additional information about Indiana's impaired driving (OWI) laws, with links to related resources (FindLaw).
  • Your Indianapolis OWI Case: The Basics - Information to help you navigate an OWI case in Indianapolis, with contact information about courts (FindLaw)

Get Legal Help with Your OWI Case in Indiana

If you've been arrested for an OWI in Indiana, whether or not you believe you're guilty of the crime, you'll probably want to hire an attorney. Contact an OWI (DUI) attorney who will be able to review the evidence against you to determine its validity and relative strength, while crafting a legal defense and working to get the best possible outcome for you.

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Next Steps

Contact a qualified DUI attorney to make sure your rights are protected.

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  • Complex DUI situations usually require a lawyer
  • DUI defense attorneys can challenge Breathalyzer/Intoxilyzer or blood test results
  • A lawyer can seek to reduce or eliminate DUI penalties
  • A lawyer can help get your license back

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