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Stand Up For Themselves

We Help Indiana Individuals Stand Up For Themselves

4 aggravating factors that can make your DUI charge even more serious

In Fort Wayne, not all charges of DUI (officially known as OWI) are the same. Indiana’s drinking and driving law raises the potential penalties based on the specific circumstances surrounding each incident. This means that the severity of the punishment for a DUI conviction can vary significantly depending on factors like your criminal history and the specifics of the incident.

DUI penalties and aggravating factors

A first-time standard OWI offense is a Class C misdemeanor, with possible sentences that include probation or up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. In addition, the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles will suspend your driver’s license for 180 days, though you may be able to get it restored sooner.

However, the statute requires heavier penalties if the prosecution proves that certain factors were present:

  • High BAC levels: Evidence of the driver having a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .15 or higher while driving can elevate the charge to a Class A misdemeanor, increasing the fine up to $5,000, extending jail time up to a year, and lengthening the driver’s license suspension.
  • Repeat offenses: A second OWI offense is treated as a felony, with penalties including up to three years in prison and a two-year license suspension.
  • Driving with underage passengers: Also treated as a felony, with severe fines and extended jail time.
  • Causing serious injury: Even if it is your first DUI, if the incident involved a car accident that caused significant injury to others, you could face up to six years in prison. Previous DUIs on your record could increase this to up to 12 years.

The importance of accurate investigation

Given the variables that can influence the outcome of a DUI case, it’s essential to have a clear and precise understanding of the facts surrounding your situation. An experienced defense attorney is invaluable in these circumstances. They can scrutinize the evidence, ensure you’re not being overcharged, and advocate for your rights in court.