How a DUI Conviction in “The Crossroads of American” Can Affect Your Finances
A charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and subsequent conviction is a very serious matter that individuals should begin to address as soon as they are arrested and charged. It does not matter where in the state of Indiana the arrest takes place, whether it be Indianapolis, Bloomington, Fort Wayne, or any other area, the consequences of being convicted of Indiana DUI is all the same. Individuals should consider filling out the Free OWI arrest Form in order to find out more about fighting their charges.
First Offender Penalties in the State of Indiana
In the state of Indiana, the legal system and law enforcement generally use the term Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) when referring to what other states traditionally call DUI. Just like those other states, Indiana has penalties and punishments passed down to offenders when they are found guilty of this type of crime. Some of the penalties a first time OWI/DUI in Indiana offender will face include:
- 60 Days to 1 Year in Jail
- Fines between $500 and $5,000
- License Suspension of Up to 2 Years
Indiana also enforces what is known as an implied consent law. Under this law, individuals are subject to automatic punishments should they refuse to take a chemical test in order to determine their Blood Alcohol Content or BAC. First time offenders who refuse the test will face a one-year license suspension – second and third time offenders will face a two-year license suspension. Since these punishments are automatic, it generally doesn’t matter if the individual is later convicted of OWI/DUI or not.
Financial Repercussions before Conviction
The penalties handed down after an individual is convicted are not the only financial impacts faced when it comes to being charged with DUI. Even before the individual is formally charged, he or she will face some expenses that could impact their financial future. First, when the individual is arrested for DUI, the vehicle is usually towed and impounded. Unless the arresting officer allows someone else to come retrieve the vehicle, the individual will be responsible for the cost of having the vehicle towed to the impound lot as well as all the storage fees associated with the incident.
In some situations, the individual will be processed and booked into the jail where bail will be set in order for them to be released. This usually occurs for habitual offenders and in situations when aggravating circumstances make the conditions of the arrest more serious, such as an accident or injury as a result of the individual’s drinking and driving, or if they have a minor child in the car when they are arrested. Bail for a OWI charge can range anywhere from $500 to $50,000 and a percentage of that bail will need to be paid by the individual, a bail bondsman, or someone else for them to be released.
When the individual has been released from jail, or while still in jail, he or she will likely want to hire an attorney to help try the case when the court date is assigned. The state of Indiana does allow DUI offenders to plea bargain for a lesser charge of “wet reckless,” so having a lawyer is important for those who want a lesser charge or the case dismissed. Lawyer’s fees will vary greatly between firms, but a good OWI attorney will general charge between $1,000 and $10,000 for legal services.
Financial Impacts of Receiving a OWI Conviction
If the individual and his or her attorney are unable to have the charges reduced or dismissed, the individual will be convicted of DUI and will be subject to the penalties that come along with a DUI conviction. Financially, the individual will be responsible for paying a monetary fine, which in the state of Illinois is anywhere between $500 and $5,000 depending on the circumstances of the arrest and charge. This fine amount will increase based on the number of previous offenses the individual has, including:
- Second Offense: $10,000
- Third Offense: Up to $10,000
It is important to remember every state will have different penalty amounts for both first time offenders and repeat offenders.
The financial penalties passed down by the court are just one of the financial hurdles an individual will need to get over when it comes to a drunk or drugged driving conviction. Another big expense that DUI offenders will face as a result of the OWI is an increase in car insurance rates. While everyone knows a the offense will appear on the individual’s criminal record, some often forget it will also be reported on the driving record, which will ultimately cause the insurance company to raise insurance rates.
Regardless of what the residential state or insurance company, it is guaranteed insurance rates will increase after they are convicted of DUI. The only question that remains is how much of an increase will be realized – this increase will vary greatly from one insurance company to the next as well as between states. In the state of Indiana, drivers can expect their car insurance rates to increase an average of 57 percent, which works out to about a $45 increase in monthly premium payments.
Avoiding OWI Convictions and Protecting Your Financial Future
Being convicted of Driving Under the Influence is a very costly mistake – when all the costs outlined here are added together, offenders will be paying upwards of $40,000 for their actions. It is unlikely that many individuals have this financing readily available, and when they also consider the possibility of lost wages due to court dates and jail time, the financial burden can almost be too much to handle. The best way to avoid being convicted of OWI and protecting your financial future is to simply not drink and drive – make sure to be responsible when drinking and use a sober driver or public transportation.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.