Although the terms DUI (driving under the influence) and OWI (operating while intoxicated) are relatively common, many people do not actually know what these terms mean or how they differ. That is why, in the below post, we will review the differences between an OWI and a DUI in Indiana and help you understand the legal options you have if you have been charged with either.

indiana owi and dui

Minor Differences

The distinction between states that use the terms “operating” while intoxicated and “driving” under the influence is minimal. For example, in a “driving” state, a motorist must actually be driving to face penalties for being intoxicated. On the other hand, in an “operating” state, any use of the vehicle’s controls is considered as operating it. 

This implies that in states that use “operating,” merely sitting in the driver’s seat and fiddling with the radio while intoxicated could lead to the authorities arresting you. Some individuals may even be arrested for sitting in an idling car while intoxicated.

Which Term Does Indiana Use?

In Indiana, OWI is used when accusing an individual of operating a vehicle while under the influence of a mind-altering substance, including drugs or alcohol. However, this term is often a catch-all offense that can be used when an automobile is not moving as long as the individual inside is under the influence. Moreover, “operating” a vehicle under the influence allows the police to arrest individuals not driving. For instance, if a person is just in their car sitting with the engine running but they are intoxicated, they can still be charged with an OWI, even if the vehicle is not moving. Furthermore, an OWI is not only used for driving a car or a truck but the term can also be used for those who operate bicycles or boats.

Alcohol Limits in Indiana

In Indiana, a motorist is considered to be intoxicated if the blood alcohol concentration or BAC levels are equal to .08% or above.  The state also requires that commercial drivers maintain a BAC under .04% and a motorist under 21 maintain a BAC under .02%.

If a person is intoxicated because they are on drugs while being in an automobile, it can also lead to an OWI offense if an officer can confirm the motorist is intoxicated. To determine whether a person is under the influence, authorities may use blood tests and breathalyzers to assess precisely how much of a substance is in a person’s system. 

Implied Consent Laws

Under Indiana’s implied consent laws, an individual has already consented to a chemical test by driving on the roads in the state. If they refuse to submit to a test, penalties may be imposed, including losing driving privileges for up to two years. The police officers can also arrest the individual, even if they refuse the test, based on other evidence that indicates they were driving while intoxicated, such as visible impairment, physical evidence, or any other valid indicator. 

Contact Kaushal Law To Learn More About Your Options

States across the nation, including Indiana, are cracking down on both OWI and DUI crimes. That is why if you are facing any criminal charges or violations related to alcohol, contact Kaushal Law by calling us at 765.434.3787. Our experienced legal team can review the facts of your case, review the legal options you have, and help you fight for your rights and your future.