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What Does OWI Stand For?

OWI stands for “Operating While Intoxicated,” and it specifically means operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Is There A Typical OWI Defendant?

There is no typical defendant for an OWI charge, because “Operating While Intoxicated“ offenses span across every sector of society, every socioeconomic group and include anyone who has access to a vehicle.

What Are Some Of The Consequences For The First OWI?

The person would typically be looking at anywhere from 60 days to 1 year in jail for the first operating while intoxicated case. They would be looking at potential probation, possibly having an ignition interlock device equipped on the vehicle, and 8 points on their license if convicted. The requirement of having to have SR-22 insurance which would make their insurance rates go up as well, and they might face probation and probation fees and being subject to the jurisdiction of the court. It might affect the person's conviction if they held a professional license or they travelled.

Do People Get A Second OWI Often Or Do They Generally Become More Cautious?

Statistically, 70 percent of people who are arrested for operating while intoxicated do not re-offend, so only 30 percent of people reoffend.

Are People Generally More Careful Now Than They Were In The Past?

It has certainly become part of the public consciousness with all of the advertising campaigns. Everyone sees the commercials about “You drink, you drive, you lose, 0.08, it's the law,” and while I am not sure who is responsible for those advertisements or media campaigns, people are aware of them and they are all familiar with the term 0.08 with respect to the legal limit to operate a vehicle.

What Does That Technically Mean When It Comes To 0.08?

0.08 means 0.08 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of the person's breath or 100 milliliters of blood.

Why Do People Re-offend and Get A Second OWI?

Some people have genuine drinking problems and they may be alcoholics. People who live in smaller cities or rural areas which do not have public transportation like big cities tend to drive more because taxi cabs and public transportation are not readily available.

What Happens If Someone Blew Under 0.08 On The Breathalyzer?

This would depend on the area. Someone who registered a blood or breath test score under 0.08 could still be prosecuted if they were physically intoxicated. It might alert officers that the person is not impaired by way of alcohol, so the person may be impaired because of drugs. Just because someone might register an alcohol score less than 0.08 does not mean they would not be arrested or prosecuted.

What Typically Happens In The Scenario Of An OWI?

Many localities typically have a DUI task force, where local police agencies have extra funds available to pay officers overtime or to put more officers on the streets during weekends, at night, or times when they suspect there may be more impaired drivers. These officers are all trained to investigate and arrest intoxicated drivers. So these task force officers are out on the street looking for drivers committing infractions while driving. The infractions can include speeding, expired plates, a headlight out, failing to use a turn signal, not stopping for stop signs, running a red light, or things of that nature.

When the officer approaches the car, he/she is looking to see if the driver has slurred speech, if they can smell alcohol on the driver's breath and whether the driver's eyes are bloodshot, watery or glassy. The officer will ask for the driver's license and registration to see if the driver can follow directions and get their license out of their wallet or purse and their registration without fumbling.

Sometimes officers' write in their reports that the driver gave them their credit card when they asked for the license, or, they gave their YMCA membership card, which is the kind of evidence that suggests intoxication or impairment. Once this occurs, the officer has enough information to suggest intoxication, and then he/she will ask the driver to step out of the vehicle and take field sobriety tests.

For more information on OWI Charges, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you're seeking by calling (219) 874-4878 today.