Though states use different initials to refer to DUI, all states have laws against driving under the influence. Indiana uses the initials OWI, or operating while intoxicated. A driver may face stiff penalties when charged with OWI.


Indiana law prohibits drivers not only from driving while under the influence of alcohol but also certain drugs. Some controlled substances, especially Schedule I and II substances, and legal prescriptions can impact driving ability in the same way as alcohol.

Another way a driver could get charged under criminal law is based on blood alcohol content, known as a per se charge. When a person gets pulled over for suspicion of OWI, the officer commonly conducts sobriety tests to measure blood alcohol content. If a driver registers 0.08 or exceeds it, they may get a per se OWI, which means the officer doesn’t require additional proof of OWI.


A first-time OWI charge commonly includes penalties of up to a $500 fine, a 180-day license suspension and up to 60 days of jail. Other penalties could include a victim impact panel, drug assessment and treatment, an ignition interlock device and community service.

A second offense includes penalties of up to a $10,000 fine, maximum three years in jail and a six-month to two-year license suspension. Drivers who refuse to take a blood test the first time could face up to a year license suspension. A driver may face a Level 6 felony for an OWI causing serious bodily injury.

An OWI charge can have lasting consequences that linger, including raising insurance rates. Even first-time offenses are taken seriously, so a driver needs a good defense on their side.