OWI’s come in many forms under Indiana law. You may be facing a Class C Misdemeanor if it is your 1st OWI charge and you have a low ACE number or you could be facing a Felony if you have had prior OWI convictions or there was an accident where someone was seriously injured or killed. Many times when facing an OWI charge, people tend to have misconceptions about what to expect.
I am going to jail forever (or I am going to walk away after paying a couple hundred dollars)
On lower level misdemeanor charges I have had potential clients come into my office expecting to go to jail for years, when the maximum penalty would be 60 days on their charge; or on the reverse I have had people think that the State will just let them pay a fine and walk away.
For most OWI cases neither of those scenarios are true. Usually most misdemeanor OWI cases end with the person being placed on probation. There are some scenarios where jail time is the outcome, but that is rare or it is something that the client wants to negotiate instead of probation. At the same time, OWI charges are taken very seriously by the State of Indiana and will require some consequences beyond a fine in order to resolve the case.
My OWI case will ruin my life!
It will certainly make your life tougher while you are dealing with the case. Most people that have their first OWI case survive the ordeal and come out on the otherside just fine.
You will likely have a misdemeanor conviction on your record, but in some casea it doea not even nees to be an OWI charge. Some counties will allow you to enter a program where you can ultimately end up being found guilty of a public intoxication or reckless driving charge.
Even if you do end up with an OWI conviction, as long as you complete the terms of probation, it will be something you will be able to put behind you and move forward in life.
There are ways around a license suspension in an OWI case
Initially, you will be facing some type of administrative suspension in most OWI cases. However, your lawyer should be able to wor with the court to be able to have you operate a motor vehicle through the use of an Ignition Interlock device or by having the Court grant you a Specialized Driving Privilege.
Keep in mind that if there was a refusal by you in terms of taking a certified breath test or blood test, this becomes much, much harder to achieve.
If you are facing an OWI case in the South Bend area, give me a call at 574-387-6529 to discuss your case.