Indiana DUI Laws & Penalties

Minors in Indiana can be charged with a OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) if they have a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of .08% or higher, just like an adult. However, because of Indiana's “zero tolerance” policy, those under 21 can still face charges for having a .02% BAC.

Indiana Zero Tolerance Policy

Indiana operates under a "zero tolerance" policy, which means drivers under the age of 21years old have a different legal BAC limit than the standard .08%. Minors can face charges for having a BAC of just .02%. These charges are considered a Class C Infraction and come with unique penalties adults would not face.

OWI Penalties For Minors

  BAC Fines License
1st Offense .02%–.08% Up to $500 1 year

For driving with alcohol in your system, you face up to $500 in fines and a year-long license suspension for your first offense. If this is a repeated occurrence, if you hurt or killed someone while under the influence, if you damaged property, then the penalties will increase severely.

Indiana OWI

If your BAC is above the legal .08% limit, then you will be charged with a Class C Misdemeanor, facing the same penalties as an adult.

Indiana OWI Penalties

  BAC Fines License Impisonment
1st Offense .08% + Up to $5,000 90 days to 2 years* Up to 60 days
2nd Offense .08% + Up to $10,000 180 days to 2 years 5 days to 3 years**

*You may be ordered instead to enroll in a substance abuse course at your own cost. In this case, sometimes your license will be suspended for just 30 days with a 180 day probationary period.
**Instead of serving time in prison, you may be ordered to serve 180 hours of community service

Additional Penalties

On top of the penalties listed above, the judge may order you to attend a victim impact panel, require the purchase and installation of an interlock device, put you on probation and so on. The penalties listed above are the minimum repercussions you would face.

Requesting an Administrative Hearing

After being charged, you have 10 days to request a hearing or else your license will be automatically suspended for 90 days.

Refusing the Alcohol or Drug Test

When an officer asks for your permission to conduct an alcohol or drug test, it's usually in your best interest to agree. While you have the right to refuse, refusing the test will not protect you from getting a OWI. It will, however, automatically suspend your license for a year, due to Indiana's implied consent law. Under this law, every driver is agreeing to undergo a drug or alcohol test if lawfully arrested under suspension of an OWI. Likely, you will also be arrested for refusing the test.

After taking the test, you will have a chance to regain your license at an administrative hearing, but if the court does not return it you will lose it for a year. If your license has been suspended because you refused to take the test, you are not eligible for a hardship license.

How an OWI Impacts Your Future

Should you be charged with an OWI as a minor, you can expect your insurance premiums to significantly rise. Additionally, you must disclose your OWI to any employer or college who asks for this information in the future. Schools may expel you or refuse you admittance due to a OWI. Employers may turn you down due to your OWI.

The effects of an OWI are far-reaching and should make anyone think twice before getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol. You should also keep in mind that the penalties listed above are what happens if you merely get behind the wheel with a .02% BAC or higher. Should you damage property, injure someone, or kill someone, the penalties increase significantly.