There’s a very good reason why driving is a privilege and not a right; you need to prove that you have the skills and road safety know-how to operate a vehicle. You also need to show that you’re aware of the rules of the road and agree to follow them.
But while you can earn the privilege of driving through tests and licensing, officials can easily suspend or revoke it if you commit any traffic offenses, such as operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI).
OWI is a serious offense in Indiana. A conviction can have a significant impact on your driving privileges. Understanding the consequences can help you navigate the complexities of the law and take the necessary steps to regain your driving rights.
Immediate consequences after an OWI arrest
Your driving privileges are immediately impacted the moment an officer arrests you for OWI. Upon arrest, you may face an administrative license suspension. This suspension is separate from criminal penalties and lasts 180 days.
Indiana also has an implied consent law, which means any driver operating a vehicle on state roads automatically consents to chemical testing for alcohol or drugs. While drivers can refuse testing during a traffic stop, refusal violates the law, leading to a two-year suspension of their driving privileges.
Penalties following OWI conviction
A conviction for OWI also leads to license suspensions, which can add to the suspension periods discussed earlier. The suspension periods are based on the circumstances of the driver’s OWI arrest, such as whether they’re a repeat offender or if they had a high blood alcohol level at the time of the arrest:
- First offense: License suspension of up to two years, or 30 days, followed by a 180-day probation period where the driver can only drive for work.
- Second offense: License suspension for up to 2 years.
- Third offense: License suspension for up to 10 years.
The court may order specialized driving privileges if the convicted motorist is eligible. This might also require the driver to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle as part of this limited driving privilege.
If you find yourself facing an OWI charge, it is crucial to understand your rights and responsibilities. Consider consulting a legal professional who can guide you through the process and help mitigate the impact on your driving privileges.