What Happens When You Get a 2nd DUI in Indiana

A 2nd DUI in Indiana is a serious offense, but there are ways to keep your jail time short or avoid it altogether.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
, drivers who have been convicted of a 2nd DUI within five years of their first offense could face up to two-and-a-half years of jail time and as much as $10,000 in fines. Your driver’s license will also be suspended for one year.
Thousands of people are killed each year as a result of an accident with an alcohol-impaired driver, making it one of the most serious traffic offenses you can commit. In Indiana, driving under the influence is referred to as “operating while intoxicated” and comes with some heavy penalties. While
DUI laws in Indiana
classify a first offense as a misdemeanor, subsequent offenses will be considered class D felonies instead.
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What is a 2nd offense DUI in Indiana?

In order to get charged with
driving under the influence
(DUI) in Indiana, the offender must:
  • Have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher if they are 21 years old or older.
  • Have a BAC of 0.02% or higher if they are under the age of 21.
  • Have a BAC of 0.04% or higher if they have a
    commercial driver’s license (CDL)
    and are operating a commercial motor vehicle.
In Indiana, a DUI/OWI conviction will remain on your
driving record
for at least five years if you’re charged with a misdemeanor, and at least eight years if you’re charged with a felony.
If you’re convicted of another
within five years of your first, it will be considered your second offense.  
If you’re arrested for a DUI/OWI in Indiana after a previous conviction has been expunged from your record, the court will treat it as a first offense.
This means that you’d be subject to the legal penalties associated with a first offense, not those associated with a second offense. 
Key Takeaway: If you’re arrested for a 2nd DUI within five years of your first, you will be charged with a second offense in Indiana.

What is the punishment for a 2nd DUI in Indiana?

Getting charged with a 2nd DUI in Indiana results in two types of penalties:
  • Administrative penalties: These penalties automatically follow a DUI arrest and are enforced by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
  • Criminal penalties: These penalties are assigned by the court, and can vary based on the severity of the offense.
If you fail a blood alcohol test and get arrested for a second DUI, the BMV will immediately suspend your
Indiana driver’s license
for one year.
If you decide to refuse the breathalyzer, the police officer will confiscate your license, and place you under arrest.
License suspension
will last for one year, regardless of whether you have been drinking or not.
Here are the penalties you’ll face after a 2nd DUI conviction in Indiana:
  • Up to two-and-a-half years in jail
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Between six months and two years of supervised probation
  • At least one year of license suspension
  • Up to 240 hours of court-mandated community service
The exact nature of those penalties depends on the court, but in general, the more severe your charges are, the higher the penalties will be.
Drivers whose BAC was between 0.08% and 0.15% might get off with a fine, and community service or a rehab program in lieu of jail.
But in some cases, drivers with a DUI conviction are sentenced to heavy fines or long jail terms if their arrest was associated with one of these aggravating factors:
  • A blood alcohol content that was 0.15% or higher
  • Driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle
  • Causing an accident that resulted in injury or death
Key Takeaway: Depending on the severity of the charge, penalties for a 2nd DUI in Indiana range from community service and rehab to heavy fines and long jail sentences.
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How much does a 2nd DUI in Indiana cost in the long run?

Even if you manage to avoid a jail sentence, things like fines, community service hours, and getting your license suspended can still have a major effect on your life.
Plus, having a DUI/OWI on your driving record can send your insurance rates through the roof.
Let’s take a closer look at the aftereffects of getting a 2nd DUI in Indiana.

Court costs, fees, and rehab

Not only can a 2nd DUI in Indiana result in up to $10,000 in fines, but you’ll also be responsible for court costs and fees, which usually start at around $300. And in most cases, drivers sentenced to court-ordered rehab will be responsible for the costs themselves.

Alternative transportation

No matter what kind of sentence you received from the court, the Indiana BMV will suspend your driver’s license for at least one year after a 2nd DUI. This means that you can’t legally drive until your
license is reinstated
, so you’ll need to rely on alternative transportation to get around. 
Not only is public transportation a major inconvenience, but the costs associated with riding the bus or using a rideshare service can add up fast. For example, buying monthly bus passes in Indianapolis for a year will cost you over $700.

Increased car insurance costs 

Next to court-ordered fines, one of the most expensive outcomes of a 2nd DUI in Indiana is its effect on your car insurance.
In general, having a DUI/OWI on your driving record can increase your premium by as much as 80%. If you apply that to the state average of $2,338 per year, you’d have to pay an additional $1,870 just to meet
Indiana's car insurance laws
Key Takeaway: Between court fees, rehab, transportation, and car insurance costs after a 2nd DUI in Indiana, you could end up paying thousands of dollars on top of your initial fine. 

How to avoid jail time for a 2nd DUI in Indiana

The scariest thing about a 2nd DUI in Indiana is the possibility of a jail sentence. But there are a few ways you can try to shorten your jail term or reduce the costs of a conviction. Here’s what you can do:
  • Hire a lawyer. A 2nd DUI is a serious offense, but having a skilled attorney on your side can help you try and reduce your charges.
  • Plea bargain for a “wet reckless” charge. While a “wet reckless” conviction won’t allow you to avoid penalties entirely, it usually results in a lighter sentence than a DUI/OWI. 
While most 2nd DUI convictions in Indiana
could land you in jail
, an accomplished defense lawyer may be able to argue that the arresting police officer failed to follow procedure in order to get your charges reduced or even dropped entirely.
A “wet reckless” plea deal replaces a DUI/OWI charge with a
reckless driving
charge. You’ll get a note on your record stating that drugs or alcohol were involved, and you’ll still have your driver’s license suspended for one year, but the maximum fines and jail time will be greatly reduced.

How to find affordable car insurance in Indiana after a 2nd DUI

If your license was suspended as the result of a 2nd DUI in Indiana, you can’t get it back until you prove you meet Indiana’s minimum car insurance requirements by filing an
SR-22 certificate
with the BMV.
Drivers who have an SR-22 in Indiana are
classified as “high-risk drivers”
and subject to increased
car insurance
This means that
finding cheap car insurance
in Indiana is more important than ever, and can help you get your life back on track. Dealing with an unsympathetic car insurance market can be exhausting, but
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Yes. In Indiana, being charged with a 2nd DUI within five years of a previous DUI conviction results in a class D felony.
A 2nd DUI in Indiana comes with a minimum jail sentence of five days, but it’s possible to have that time converted into community service hours or rehab.
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