Being charged with a third DUI in Indiana is a serious crime. In the Indiana Code, the phrase "Operating While Intoxicated" (OWI) is used to describe driving under the influence (DUI). People charged with a DUI/OWI face many consequences, including administrative penalties and criminal penalties.
If you are convicted of a third DUI/OWI in Indiana, your driver's license will be suspended. If your last DUI/OWI conviction occurred more than five years but less than 10 years before the conviction under consideration by the court, your driving privileges will be suspended for at least 180 days but not more than two years. If your last DUI/OWI conviction occurred less than five years before the conviction under consideration by the court, your driving privileges will be suspended for at least one year but not more than two years.
The Lookback Period
There is no lookback period in Indiana for court purposes. The court may consider all DUI/OWI convictions, regardless of how many years ago the convictions were entered. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles uses a 10 year lookback period when determining whether to classify you as a habitual traffic offender.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor
If your previous OWI/DUI conviction occurred within the five years immediately preceding the most recent charge,you will be charged with a Class D felony. Barring other extenuating circumstances defined in the code, you will be charged with a misdemeanor.
When you have at least two previous DUI/OWI convictions, in addition to any penalties the court orders for commission of the crime, you will be imprisoned for at least 10 days or ordered to perform at least 360 hours of community service. You will also be required to complete a drug/alcohol abuse assessment, and if deemed appropriate, successfully complete a treatment program.
Plea Options and Legal Help
When charged with a third DUI/OWI in Indiana, you have three options. You can Plead Guilty, and let the judge decide your sentence (within the parameters set in the Indiana Code). You can hire an experienced DUI/OWI attorney to fight the charge and plead Not Guilty. Or, you or your attorney can attempt to plea bargain with the prosecutor. This means that you would offer to plead guilty in exchange for a known lesser sentence, instead of simply letting the judge decide your sentence.