One thing that I have seen over and over again is that many good people can end up being charged with an Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), also commonly known as a DUI. Being charged with a OWI/DUI can result in some pretty negative consequences such as a loss of license, jail time, fines, probation, and substance abuse classes. One common question that many people have is whether or not they will have to serve jail time. The short answer is that it depends.

Being charged with an OWI/DUI usually means that you will be charged with a Class A or Class C Misdemeanor (and even be charged as a Felony in some cases). Both of these charges can carry a jail sentence; the Class C Misdemeanor case can carry a jail sentence of up to 60 days, while a Class A Misdemeanor can carry a sentence of up to 365 days. Indiana Code 9-30-5-15 provides that a mandatory minimum sentence be entered in OWI/DUI cases or a substantial amount of community service instead if you do have prior convictions.

Does a OWI automatically mean you are going to have to serve jail time? Not necessarily…

First, if you haven’t retained counsel you should do so right away. The lawyer will examine your case to make sure that the police completed everything properly. By doing this the lawyer may find legal defenses that exist in your particular situation. These defenses can be used to help you be found not guilty if the case goes to trial or to possibly exclude evidence.

If the case against you is otherwise solid, then you are still not without options. Your attorney will be able to work with the prosecutor’s office in attempt to receive a lesser charge or entrance into a possible deferment program.