There are a couple of things in Indiana, the first one being common law operating while intoxicated, which means operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Indiana has a definition for intoxication or intoxicated, which is when a person loses normal control of their faculties.
It is not a specific definition but it satisfies that element of the statute, so the government is not required to show a specific blood or breath alcohol content, it is just whether the person is impaired by way of alcohol or drugs and whether they are intoxicated. There is also operating a vehicle with a breath or blood alcohol content of 0.08 or greater, so someone can be found not guilty of one and guilty of the other.
For example, a person who refuses a breath or blood test can still be convicted of operating while intoxicated. On the other hand, if they took a breath or blood test and they registered 0.10, they technically could be found not guilty of operating while intoxicated because they may not appear to be intoxicated, but just having that alcohol level is illegal in and of itself. So, it would not matter how sober the person appeared or even if they passed every field sobriety test. If they were 0.08 or greater, they broke the law.
Are All People Who Are Arrested And Charged With OWI Alcoholics And Heavy Drinkers?
No, it is definitely a misconception. There are many reasons why people who are not alcoholics end up being arrested for operating while intoxicated. It is possible they just had not been out in a while and went out with some friends, they might be going through a tough time in their life, they might have been fired from work, they might be going through relationship issues or a divorce, so maybe they went out with some friends and drank more than they were used to, so it could be any reason.
There was even a client who was waiting for her boyfriend to get off from a hotel and while she was waiting, another group of people who she was with were partying in a hotel room. For some reason she had to leave before her boyfriend got off work so she had to drive home herself, and got picked up for drunk driving.
Are There Heavy Drinkers Who Hardly Ever Get Caught Driving At All?
There are statistics that would show most people who operate vehicles while intoxicated are not doing so for the first time. Sometimes, there are two different types of tolerance for alcohol: (1) behavioral tolerance and (2) metabolic tolerance. Metabolic tolerance is when someone may be drinking more or at a same rate as everyone else, but they are not getting as intoxicated as fast or at all, because their body metabolizes the alcohol a little bit faster.
This would not mean they are not capable of becoming intoxicated, it just means they might not be getting tipsy or feeling the effects of alcohol like some other friends might. It can also depend on other things like how much the person weighs, how much muscle mass they have, and things of that nature. The majority of our muscles consist of water, so, a muscular person would be able to metabolize or distribute the alcohol more than someone who is overweight or less muscular. Even if they were the same weight, one person might get intoxicated or drunk sooner.
Behavioral tolerance basically means that even though the person might be intoxicated, they may be used to doing or performing a common test. If they go to the neighborhood bar and are used to driving home from there, because they use the same route every time, take the same streets, stop at the same stop signs or stop lights, then they must have that behavioral tolerance because they were used to doing that when they were impaired.
People can get in trouble when something happens that they do not intend, like a dog running out in front of the car, or hitting an icy patch on the road, or anything they would not be used to reacting to because it would not be what typically happened when they drove home. Another way people can get caught is when they overreact because they might run off the road or they might hit a parked car.
For more information on Common Misconceptions about OWI, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you're seeking by calling (219) 874-4878 today.