Difference between OWI and DUI in Indiana?

Did the police catch you driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher? If you have looked up information on the subject, the use of the terms OWI and DUI may confuse you. Some states use different terms to underline the differences between various levels of intoxication.

One such state is South Carolina. The laws there make the distinction between “DUI” and ”DUAC” by blood alcohol concentration. For DUI, the focus is on the driver’s impairment. For DUAC, the focus is on the blood alcohol concentration exceeding the 0.08% threshold.

This is not the case in Indiana. Here, the terms OWI and DUI are interchangeable. They are different names given to the same offense. It involves driving or operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Those charged with it should consult a DUI or OWI attorney as soon as possible.

The Meaning of the Terms “OWI” and “DUI”

1. DUI

This term is the acronym of “driving under the influence”. It is the most commonly used throughout the country. In Indiana, it refers to persons arrested under the suspicion of drinking and driving.

2. OWI

This term is the acronym of “operating while intoxicated”. It is less used than its predecessor. Besides Indiana, other states that have adopted it are Wisconsin and Iowa. In all three states, it refers to motorists charged with drinking and driving.

Although the two terms refer to the same offense, Indiana authorities prefer the latter. Drivers facing OWI charges should consult an experienced OWI or DUI attorney in Indianapolis, IN. No matter the name used for the offense, the penalties are considerable. Drivers who have consumed alcohol with will need help avoiding the penalties.

OWI and DUI Penalties, or Why Work with a DUI or OWI Attorney in Indianapolis, IN

The penalties for OWI and DUI are the same in Indiana. They include license suspensions, fines, and even time in jail. The preliminary offense is a misdemeanor. In case of aggravating factors, it can turn into a felony. Common aggravating factors are:

  • Previous convictions within the last five years
  • Minor passengers in the car
  • Open alcohol containers in the car
  • Offense leading to injuries or death

For first time offenders, OWI and DUI penalties go up to 60 days in prison and 2 years of license suspension. The driver also risks fines of up to $5,000 and one year of probation. For a felony, the penalties can reach three years of jail time and 2 years of license suspension. The fines can reach $10,000, and the probation period goes up to three years.

Many drivers mistakenly believe that refusing tests can help them avoid OWI and DUI convictions. They would know better, had they consulted a DUI attorney. Indiana is one of the states with the harshest implied consent laws. Those who refuse tests will lose their license for up to two years, the same as those convicted.

A skilled OWI attorney may help clients avoid a conviction. However, there is no way to avoid penalties for refusing tests. Moreover, refusing tests is no solution to avoid conviction. The refusal itself qualifies as evidence in court, so the driver will still face charges. If the court convicts them, the penalties will add to the one for refusing the tests.

Instead of refusing tests, drivers should take advantage of their right to consult a DUI attorney. The latter will analyze the details of their case, and recommend the best course of actions. In many cases, attorneys succeed to avoid conviction even though the charges are justified.

They can challenge test results, invoke procedural errors, and convince the court to disregard certain evidence. They can secure lower penalties by enrolling their clients in rehabilitation programs. They help their client keep their driving privileges by invoking job or family obligations.

Get the Help of an Indianapolis DUI Attorney from Rathburn Law Office P.C.s Now!

If the police stopped you in traffic and you know you have been drinking, you need help. You should not take OWI and DUI charges lightly. Instead, call our office or use the contact form and schedule a consultation. It is free, and it gives you access to all the advice and information you need.

Do not risk your driving privileges, your freedom, your money, and your reputation! Defend them with the help of a reputable Indianapolis OWI attorney from Rathburn Law Office P.C.s. Indiana laws hold no secrets for us. Let us make sure they work in your favor![/cta]