In Indiana, a second DUI / OVWI is treated much more seriously than a first offense. Whether it’s called an OWI, a DWI, or a DUI, Indiana formally categorizes these crimes as OVWI, or operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

DUI: Not a “Normal” Crime

Most crimes require that the State prove mens rea, which is fancy-pants Latin for guilty mind. This makes it necessary for the prosecution to prove a defendant didn’t simply engage in criminal behavior—they knowingly acted with criminal intent.

DUI / OVWI is not a normal crime, and one of the things that sets it apart is the absence of a mens rea requirement. Indiana makes no distinction between people who drive drunk on purpose and people who drive drunk accidentally. It doesn’t matter if you meant to do it.

Judges and prosecutors understand this, and they know that a first-time DUI / OVWI offender is not necessarily a bad person or a problem drinker. After all, it can happen to almost anyone. As you might expect though, the State becomes much less understanding with every subsequent arrest. Judges typically take this to mean you haven’t learned your lesson.

Click here to read on about the potential consequences of getting a second DUI / OVWI in Indiana.