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What are the penalties for drunk driving in Indiana?

Drunk driving charges are serious charges in Indiana and those accused of driving while impaired can face significant potential consequences and penalties. Individuals who have been accused of drunk driving may wonder what potential penalties they face. Initially, individuals who are accused of drunk driving will be asked to take a breath test. Refusal to take a breath test results in the automatic suspension of the accused individual's driver's license for one year. Accused individuals who submit to a breath test and have a blood alcohol content level of .08% or greater, according to the breath test, will have their license suspended for a minimum of 30 days.

Penalties for repeated drunk driving offenses grow more serious with each offense. Penalties associated with a driver's first drunk driving offense include the possibility of jail time up to one year; a fine of up to $5,000; license suspension up to 2 years; a requirement to enroll in substance abuse education; a requirement to submit to urine testing for drugs and alcohol; be placed on probation; and pay court costs and fees, as well as some additional penalties that may also be possible.

For a second drunk driving offense, the driver will be incarcerated for a minimum of 5 days and up to 3 years; be fined up to $10,000; have their license suspended for at least 180 days and up to 2 years; be required to perform community service; and be subjected to probation requirements. For a third drunk driving offense, the driver will be incarcerated for a minimum of 10 days and up to 3 years; be fined up to $10,000; have their license suspended for at least a year and up to 10 years; be required to perform community service; be subjected to probation requirements; and may also be designated a habitual offender which may add additional penalties and consequences.

Drunk driving charges are serious charges with increasingly serious penalties that threaten the freedom and future of the accused individual. As a result, it is important for individuals accused of driving while intoxicated to be familiar with their options for challenging the charges they are facing and the criminal defense protections available to them.

Source: Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, "Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated," Accessed May 24, 2017

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