Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can get you in real trouble. Intoxicated driving can lead to a failure to recognize traffic control devices, erratic driving and worse.
In Indiana, operating while intoxicated (OWI) is the equivalent of a DUI. An arrest under DUI laws is bad enough, but if you cause someone else harm, you may face stiff penalties and a felony charge. A felony DUI has serious implications and consequences all around.
The basics of a felony DUI charge
You may wonder what the difference between a DUI and a felony DUI charge is. In Indiana, a felony DUI charge happens when the driver gets a DUI with one or more of the following factors:
- A child 17 years old or younger is in the vehicle.
- The driver’s license is not valid (revoked or suspended).
- The driver has numerous DUI charges or convictions.
- The driver caused bodily injury or death to someone else.
- The BAC is .15% or higher
Other elements may lead to a felony DUI charge at the time of the arrest.
Felony charges with a minor in the vehicle
One of the toughest elements of the law deals with drivers who have a child 17 or younger in the car. The charge for this is Level 6 felony, regardless of whether a driver has a previous DUI. The punishment if convicted ranges from no jail time up to almost three years of incarceration. The fines may also climb to $10,000. If prior convictions exist, mandatory jail time occurs.
License suspension after a felony DUI
Once a person has a felony DUI, the court may suspend her or his license for a period equal to the maximum potential jail sentence. In the case of a Level 6 felony conviction, it may mean almost 2.5 years of having no license. Other factors may cause a deviation from this, and the court decides the suspension on a case-by-case basis.
If you find yourself charged with a felony DUI, you may want to seek an attorney’s assistance. Felony charges can mean harsher sentences and fines.