Aggravating Factors for OWI Cases in Indiana

A conviction for operating while intoxicated (OWI) – also commonly called DUI – comes with harsh penalties, even for a first offense. The possible penalties can become even more serious if there are aggravating factors alleged surrounding your actions and arrest. Recently, one man in Indiana was arrested in a situation that involves several different aggravating factors. 

The Reported Arrest

Reports indicate that a 27-year-old man caused a crash on the evening of December 14th. Indiana State Police arrested the driver, who is accused of the following:

  • Having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.29 percent and displaying signs of intoxication
  • Causing an accident that resulted in property damage (no injuries were reported)
  • Having several minor children in the vehicle
  • Having a suspended driver’s license
  • Fleeing the scene of the accident on foot

Increasing Charges and Penalties for OWI

Having a high BAC can enhance OWI charges in Indiana. The legal limit for driving is 0.08 percent, and a BAC higher than this allows the prosecutor to allege that you were intoxicated. A first-time OWI charge is generally a Class C misdemeanor. However, it escalates to a Class A misdemeanor if your BAC was over 0.15 percent. This can increase possible jail time from 60 days to one year, and possible fines from $500 to $5,000. Obviously, the man in the above accident had a high enough BAC to enhance his charges.

Having minor children in the car can significantly enhance an OWI charge. If you are over the age of 21 and have anyone riding in the vehicle younger than 18, the charge becomes a Level 6 felony. This can mean a felony conviction on your record, six months to 2.5 years in prison, and fines up to $10,000.

Other aggravating factors include having prior convictions for OWI or related offenses. If you have a prior OWI in the past five years, the charge will be a Level 6 felony. If either OWI involved serious injuries to others, it would be a Level 5 felony for a second offense. OWI causing the death of another person is a Level 5 felony, but it can be enhanced to a Level 4 felony if other aggravating factors are present. 

While causing property damage might not enhance a charge, the judge can consider it when ordering a sentence. In addition, the above suspect faces additional criminal charges for driving on a suspended license, fleeing the scene, and more. This is an example of how an OWI case can become complex and significantly more serious very quickly.

Speak with a Northwest Indiana OWI Defense Lawyer Immediately

The law firm of Arshad, Pangere & Warring handles complicated OWI cases, including those involving serious aggravating factors. No matter what the allegations against you might be, it is imperative that you seek help from a skilled OWI defense attorney who understands Indiana OWI charges and how to defend against them. Contact us right away to discuss your case.

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