It is not uncommon to go to a party and have a drink or two and make a mistake like getting behind the wheel because you believe you are not drunk. However, Indiana law defines driving under the influence as having a blood alcohol level of at least .08%.
A DUI charge can have serious consequences. Depending on the circumstances, you may even end up serving jail time.
While jail time is a possible consequence for DUI in Indiana, judges may consider alternatives such as probation, community service or substance abuse programs based on the circumstances of the case. The likelihood of avoiding jail time depends on factors like prior offenses, cooperation with law enforcement, whether there was a passenger and if there was a wreck where someone ended up injured or dead. These factors affect the level of the DUI offense and whether it is a misdemeanor or felony.
In addition to jail time, community service, programs or probation, DUI charges may come with other penalties. This includes license suspension, fines and court costs and a criminal record. The court may also order an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle. The device requires you to pass a breath test before starting the automobile.
There do exist potential defenses against DUI charges. If the police acted outside of appropriate procedures or lacked a valid reason for stopping you in the first place, you can challenge the legality of the traffic stop or arrest. You can also question the accuracy of blood tests, breath tests and field sobriety tests. The latter especially has a certain level of inaccuracy due to subjectivity. Another possible defense is that alcohol absorption continued after driving, leading to an inflated BAC reading during testing.
The Indiana University Public Policy Institute states that in 2020, Indiana saw over 100 fatalities due to alcohol-related traffic accidents. A DUI is a serious charge so it comes with serious short- and long-term legal and financial implications. However, it does not mean automatic jail time and there are potential defenses.