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Is an OWI a felony in Indiana?

On Behalf of | May 20, 2021 | Dui And Traffic Violations

Indiana, much like most other states, has a .08% limit on your blood alcohol concentration. If you drink too much and breach that limit, then you could face serious penalties as a result.

What some people don’t know is that an OWI does have the potential to be a felony crime. As a result, it could come with significant time in prison as well as high fees and fines. Even when it’s not a felony that you’re facing, the misdemeanor charges are significant.

When does an OWI become a felony in Indiana?

An OWI becomes a felony in Indiana when you drive with a passenger who is under 18 years old in the vehicle while intoxicated. This is a Level 6 felony.

You could also face felony charges if:

  • You are convicted of a second OWI within five years
  • You kill a law enforcement animal
  • You cause serious harm to another person

If you previously had an OWI that was for serious bodily injuries or causing death, then your second offense causing bodily harm will be upgraded to a Level 5 felony.

In most other cases, you will face a misdemeanor charge for an OWI.

How long could you be imprisoned if convicted of a felony OWI?

If you are convicted of a Level 6 felony for an OWI, you could face between six months and 2.5 years of imprisonment. Fines also range, but $10,000 is the maximum in most cases.

The Level 5 felony is more serious and increases the length of incarceration to between one and six years. The fine maximum remains the same.

For Level 4 felonies, which are usually only given when someone dies and there is a history of OWIs, the prison sentence increases to between two and 12 years.

Remember, each individual who is hurt or killed counts as a separate offense, and these penalties could stack. That’s why it’s so important to have an attorney work with you if you believe that you’ll face accusations of an OWI. It’s worth defending yourself, because you could lose your freedoms and end up behind bars.