Indiana refers to DUI as OWI, or operating while intoxicated. Regardless of the initials, DUI gets taken seriously in all states. Police officers in Bloomington, Indiana, may conduct several tests to determine if a driver is intoxicated. However, the evidence from these tests isn’t always accurate, and drivers still have several defenses to prove innocence.
Overview of DUI charges
In most states, drivers may face DUI charges based on blood alcohol content or impairment. A BAC above the legal limit means the officer doesn’t need any more evidence for prosecution to charge the defendant.
If a driver reaches a BAC of 0.08, it is a per se DUI. The BAC levels for minors are lower under no-tolerance laws and for commercial drivers. In Indiana, per se and impairment can classify as one of two charges: a Class A misdemeanor or Class C misdemeanor. A felony OWI charge may occur when the driver causes death or bodily injury or has a minor in the vehicle.
Defending against OWI charges
An officer needs reasonable suspicion to stop a driver and probable cause to arrest a driver for OWI. Some evidence includes erratic driving behavior, the physical appearance of impairment, results from a field test or the smell of alcohol. Judges are likely to throw out evidence in cases that lack probable cause or reasonable suspicion.
Field tests aren’t always accurate since certain conditions can cause balance issues or false Breathalyzer results. However, prosecution may still try to push the physical observations with negative tests. A driver accused of DUI may request a blood test for more accurate results or prove their condition with medical records.
The driver might claim they weren’t actually driving, but this depends on the circumstance. They have to show they weren’t in physical control of the vehicle, such as sleeping the back seat.
Drunk driving often comes with stiff penalties, but getting charged with an OWI doesn’t always mean a conviction. A driver charged with OWI needs an experienced defense team to help them fight the charges.