Recent modifications to the criminal code has resulted in a few variances to former sentencing ranges available to a respective criminal court. Please contact me to discuss how these variances differ from former statutes and whether such alterations may be significant within your specific arrest and prosecution.
Codified in statutes. IC-30-5, the criminal code puts forth the laws that regulate and relate to impaired operation prosecutions. As in other states, consequences in this state are severe. In all cases, your license will be suspended for a period of time. In addition, there are aggravating circumstances that can increase the seriousness of your OWI.
By and large misdemeanor options in drunk driving cases remain the same. A person’s first OWI is either an A Misdemeanor or Class C Misdemeanor dependent on bac reading and/or the presence of potential endangerment to others. Jail time can be up to one year with as high as a two year court imposed license suspension.
It is in the area of codified felony laws that have seen appreciable variances from how former offenses will be labeled.
Formerly called a Class D Felony, you will now be charged with a Level 6 Felony if you have had any other convictions within the five years prior to the current charge. You can also be charged with a Level 6 Felony if you are driving under the influence, are over the age of 21, and you have a passenger in the car who is under eighteen years old, or if you kill a law enforcement animal while driving under the influence. A Level 6 Felony imposes up to two and one half years imprisonment and often comes with serious consequences beyond jail time. For example, convicted felons in Indiana lose the right to lawfully possess firearms as well as their right to drive for as much as two years by court order in addition to potential suspensions imposed by the bureau of motor vehicles based upon driving record.
If you have already been convicted of an OWI causing death or serious bodily injury, and you commit a second OWI where there is no death or serious bodily injury, then you will be charged with a Level 5 Felony. A Level 5 Felony, (formerly analogous to a C Felony classification) is more serious than a Level 6. If you are convicted of a Level 5 Felony, the judge can sentence you to at least one year in prison and can sentence you to up to six years. In addition, the judge can assess up to $10,000 in fines against you.
If you kill someone due to driving under the influence, that is a Level 5 Felony. The severity of the charge can be increased to a Level 4 Felony if you have had an OWI in the five years prior to the killing or if you knowingly drove while your license or driving privileges were suspended or revoked for a previous OWI offense. A Level 4 Felony carries a punishment of a minimum of two years in prison and up to twelve years and a fine of up to $10,000.
It is imperative that one converse with legal counsel as to the many factors that can certainly come into play when assessing these new criminal classifications. Although I believe that these classifications may have a nominal effect on the outcomes within the vast majority of impaired operation cases, they are noteworthy in grasping a better comprehension on all present legal possibilities.