2nd Offense Cases
In Indiana second offense prosecutions for dui or owi can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor depending upon the timing of the first conviction. If the prior conviction occured within five (5) years of the present arrest, the case will be filed as a Level 6 felony.
If the prior conviction for dui occurred after five (5) years of the most recent dui arrest, the charge will be filed by the county prosecutor as a misdemeanor offense.
One must keep in mind that the prior dui offense relevant for charging purposes can be from any other state and is not dependant on a conviction from Indiana.
Whether filed as a Felony or Misdemeanor the minimum punishment available to the sentencing judge is either five (5) days in jail or one hundred eighty (180 ) hours of community service at a minimum up to one year in jail for a misdemeanor and up to three years imprisonment for a felony.
Further, for one charged with a Level 6 felony DUI in Indiana with a prior felony conviction within three years, a minimum of six (6) months executed jail time must be imposed up to two and one half years imprisonment. However, in many instances, I am able to utilize my knowledge of certain dui statutes to convert the mandatory six (6) months jail time to either home detention or work release in certain cirumstances and if brought on a case quickly enough. Earned credit time is available toward any such sentence which will cut "executed" incarceration sentences in half for what is called "good time credit."
As to drivers license suspensions one with a prior dui conviction within five (5) years faces a minimum court ordered suspension of up to two (2) years, with most jurisdictions typically imposing a minimum of one year in such a circumstance. If the prior dui conviction was beyond five (5) years but within ten (10) of the present offense, the court can suspend a license to the same maximimum of two (2) years. However, in my experience most jurisdictions will not allow for a suspension below one hundred eighty days where a prior conviction is after five years but within ten.
When attempting to assess potential dui penalties in Indiana it is always important to know that a variety of factors will come into play; including but not limited to, the county policies within the jurisdiction of arrest as well as the early intervention of legal counsel. When contending with a second time owi prosecution the legal stakes elevated mandate that competent legal counsel be consulted as soon as possible. In so doing, a winning legal strategy that meets the need of a given legal community offers the greatest likelihood of success for one's long term future.