Almost everyone charged with drunk driving spends some time in jail after their arrest. The good news is that relatively few people are sentenced to time behind bars after their conviction for operating while intoxicated (OWI). Incarceration is only mandatory after an OWI is when it is a felony based on aggravating factors.
The truth is, jail time is usually not the worst consequence of a drunk driving conviction in Indiana. Fines, court costs, increased insurance premiums, a suspended license, and a permanent criminal record can take a heavier toll on your life than a few days spent behind bars.
While you can’t always avoid jail time after an OWI arrest, you can take steps to avoid additional time in custody and the other harsh consequences of a conviction. The best thing you can do is remain silent and contact an experienced Indianapolis OWI lawyer. The earlier they begin working on your case, the better your chances of getting the case reduced, dismissed, or proving your innocence.
What to Expect After an OWI Arrest
When you get arrested for drunk driving, the police will take you to a medical facility or police station to take your blood, urine, or breath sample. If these tests show that your BAC is over .08, or it is clear that you are intoxicated, the police will formally charge you with OWI and book you into jail.
Depending on how long it takes for you to make bail, you may end up spending anywhere from a few hours to a few days in jail.
Potential DUI/OWI Penalties
Assuming that you are convicted, the judge may or may not sentence you to additional jail time. If your OWI is charged as a Class C misdemeanor, which is standard for a first offense with no aggravating factors, the maximum jail sentence is 60 days.
If you have already spent time in jail after your arrest, the judge will probably sentence you to “time served,” in addition to or instead of fines and community service.
The more aggravating factors present in your case, the higher your chances of being sentenced to additional jail time. Therefore, the outcome of your sentencing hearing may also depend on how you appear and behave before the judge. If you are disrespectful and fail to show any remorse, you can expect the judge to teach you a lesson with some time in jail.
Aggravaing OWI Factors May Resut in Jail
Sometimes, the aggravating factors are so bad that the judge will have no choice but to sentence you to time in custody.
Indiana law provides for mandatory minimum prison sentences for felony OWIs. For example, you may be charged with a Level 6 Felony if you get caught drunk driving with a minor in your vehicle, you have a prior OWI within the last five years, or your drunk driving caused an injury. If convicted, you will be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of six months.
An Experienced OWI Lawyer Can Help You Avoid Jail
To avoid the consequences of an OWI conviction, you need an experienced lawyer to advocate for a favorable outcome. For example, if the police violated your rights at any point, it may be possible to have the charges against you dismissed before your trial begins. A lawyer increases this possibility by highlighting the mistakes the police made and limiting the evidence collected as a result.
In OWI cases, police officers often violate people’s rights by pulling them over without a valid reason. The police cannot pull you over on a hunch that you may be impaired. They need to observe you breaking the law or driving in a way that suggests you are intoxicated.
An experienced lawyer will know how to question the arresting officer properly so it’s clear they didn’t have what they needed to make the stop. If this happens, it is likely that anything they learned or saw after the illegal traffic stop will get suppressed. And as a result of losing this evidence, the judge may dismiss your case.
Contact Attorney Hesler Today
Many people charged with OWIs make the mistake of thinking nothing can be done to improve their case. But that’s simply not true. An attorney who understands the intricacies of Indiana’s OWI laws and procedures will be able to act quickly and decisively to protect you from the worst possible outcome and help secure a result that lets you put an OWI in the past.
Based in downtown Indianapolis, Hessler Law is the answer when you need effective representation after an OWI arrest. With a proven record of getting positive results for clients charged with OWIs and other vehicle-related crimes, if you need help call attorney Sean Hessler 24/7.