Indiana’s Drunk Driving Penalties: What You Need to Know
Year after year, Indiana ranks above the national average for accidents caused by intoxicated drivers. If you don’t know the drunk driving laws that impact driving and drinking in Indiana, you need to get informed.
Driving under the influence is a dangerous affair and more catastrophic for Indiana drivers who survive drunk driving than anywhere else. Here is everything you need to know.
When Indiana Considers You Drunk
Every state has its own limits for when they consider a driver drunk. Because millions of people live on or near state borders, it’s vital to know what the laws are before you cross state lines for a night out. Plenty of people go from one state where their behavior is protected by law into another state where their choices result in jail time.
If you’re a non-commercial driver over the age of 21, you’re considered drunk at a different level than commercial drivers. That’s because commercial drivers are expected to maintain a higher standard of safety than the average person on the road. Non-commercial drivers with a blood alcohol level of .08 or more are considered drunk.
If you’re a cab driver, truck driver, or getting paid to drive for any reason, your blood alcohol limits are much lower. At .04 percent or more, you’re considered drunk in Indiana. This level can be attained with as little as one beer, so if you’re driving for a living, take care.
If you’re a driver under 21, below the nation’s legal drinking age, exercise more care. While you shouldn’t be drinking at all, you certainly shouldn’t be behind the wheel. At a blood alcohol level of .02 percent or more, you’re considered to be drunk driving.
Some Common Penalties
If this is the first time you’ve been found drunk driving, the law is still harsh on you. But, your penalty may be as light as 90 days without your license. Some suspensions in more egregious situations result in two years of license suspension.
Previous convictions within 5-10 of one another lead to a minimum suspension of six months to two years. If you have just one previous conviction, expect to end up imprisoned. Depending on your hearing with a judge, you’ll end up with five days of prison time or more.
Either in addition to or instead of jail time, expect dozens of hours of community service. These are often followed by alcohol treatment or therapy programs. Since drunk driving is dangerous to both the driver and other motorists, it’s considered worth rehabilitation for this reckless behavior.
If this is a chronic issue and you’ve accrued two previous DUI convictions, expect a minimum of 10 days locked up or hundreds of hours of community service. When this problem appears to the authorities as a problem, they don’t want to risk having you on the road. Expect your license to be suspended for a year or more.
If you’ve ranked between .02 and .08 blood alcohol percentage while under the age of 21, your license is going to be suspended for a year. There’s often a fine attached, in the $500 range. Blowing a number higher than .08 means your penalties will match anyone who is 21+, resulting in jail time and community service.
In Indiana, technology has taken DUI penalties to the next level. There is now technology to limit your ability to drive if you’ve been found to have problems with drinking and driving.
Judges now have the ability to demand drivers install ignition interlock technology into a driver’s car. This expensive technology, typically paid for at the driver’s expense, limits a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle if they’ve been drinking. This technology interrupts an ignition by adding breath alcohol technology in between the key and the ignition.
If this equipment is tampered with, it often results in penalties for the driver. If there’s a conviction in the past ten years between the last DUI and the latest one, judges must order this system. The alternative is the driver goes through an alcohol treatment program.
If you don’t have the time to go to a program or have a bad history of drinking and driving, you’ll be subject to this technology.
Commercial Drivers Beware
As listed above, commercial drivers in Indiana face lower limits to how much alcohol is considered dangerous for driving. Violating these limits results in penalties impacting your ability to make a living.
The penalties above apply to drivers of commercial vehicles. The additional penalty is that a commercial driver convicted of a DUI driving any vehicle is then disqualified from operating any commercial vehicle. This year-long suspension is a serious hiccup to any commercial driver’s career.
If the driver was transporting hazardous materials at the time of the DUI, this disqualification turns into a three-year ban. Two DUIs for any commercial driver results in a lifelong ban from operating a commercial vehicle.
Get To Know Dram Shop Law
If you run a bar or anywhere someone can buy a drink, you could be held liable for selling to a drunk person. If someone drinks at your establishment and then ends up in an accident, you’re suddenly in the mix.
This liability also extends to anyone who gives alcohol to a minor if you’re aware they’re underage.
Drunk Driving Is Always a Bad Choice
When you make the choice to drink, you need to make the choice to avoid drunk driving. While it might seem more convenient at times, it’s too dangerous to risk. Even if you think you’ll be okay, with these penalties in mind, it’s just too expensive to try.
If your license has recently been suspended, call us today for help.