Published in Criminal Law on November 10, 2020.
In Indiana, any Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (OVWI) conviction can subject you to substantial fines and jail time.
You could also face probation, community service, driver license suspension, and other penalties. A conviction will also leave you with a permanent criminal record that can affect your ability to get a job, rent a house, or hold a professional license.
Some OVWI offenses, however, are more serious than others, carrying significantly harsher penalties.
OVWI Endangering a Person is one of more severe misdemeanors you can be charged with in Indiana. If you have been charged with this offense or any other type of impaired or drunk driving charge, an Indiana OVWI/DUI attorney from Eskew Law can help.
Understanding the Different Types of Indiana OVWI Offenses and Their Penalties
The legal allowable alcohol level to be able to operate a motor vehicle in Indiana is a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or below. A BAC level of 0.15 or above can increase the severity of the charges you face. Law enforcement officers also have the ability to press charges for DUI if, in the officer’s opinion, you were impaired even if your BAC is below .08 or if you are impaired by a substance other than alcohol.
In addition to being charged with OVWI Endangering a Person, you could also face charges for OVWI alone, for operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or above (or 0.15 or above, depending on the results of chemical BAC testing).
A basic OVWI charge with BAC between 0.08 and 0.149 is a Class C misdemeanor, carrying up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500. If your BAC tested at 0.15 or above, the offense becomes a Class A misdemeanor, carrying up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. The OWI Endangering a Person offense also qualifies as a Class A misdemeanor. If you have prior offenses, you could be facing more serious charges and more substantial penalties.
In addition to fines and potential jail time, the court can require you to install an ignition interlock on your vehicle. You will also face the suspension of your driver license for up to two years.
This can prevent you from obtaining or holding a professional license and interfere with your ability to get a good job, get a student loan, get accepted into college, and pose a variety of other challenges.
Potential Indiana OVWI Defense Strategies
To get a conviction, the prosecutor must prove all the elements of OWI Endangering a Person beyond a reasonable doubt. Specifically, the prosecutor must demonstrate that you:
- Operated a vehicle,
- While intoxicated, and
- Endangered someone while so doing.
In many cases, one or more elements of this charge can be difficult to prove. This opens the door to a variety of defense strategies for your attorney to employ. Specifically, proving that your actions endangered another person can pose a challenge.
Simply because you drove when your BAC was above the legal limit in Indiana does not automatically mean you placed someone else at risk. The prosecutor must prove that your actions endangered a person, including the driver.
Your attorney will also consider how the arresting officer established probable cause of your impairment. The right defense strategy may depend on whether the police used field sobriety testing, chemical BAC testing, or if the officer arrested you based on his or her perception of your impairment.
If the officer made an improper traffic stop or failed to follow the stringent protocol required for conducting BAC testing, this could provide leverage for negotiating your charges down or getting them dismissed.
Talking to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible is important, as this allows your attorney to investigate the circumstances of your arrest immediately and begin building the strongest possible case in your defense.
Don’t Wait. Consult an Indiana OWI/DUI Lawyer Today
Don’t risk your freedom or your future. Before you agree to any plea bargain or provide a statement to the prosecutor, consult an attorney.
The Indiana criminal defense lawyers at Eskew Law will explain your options and help you make an informed decision about our future.
Contact us online or call now for help with an Indiana OWI Endangering a Person or any other type of criminal DUI offense.