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Together, Our Attorneys’ Combined Strengths Make Them a Formidable Defense Team for Clients Throughout Indiana

Is drugged driving different from drunk driving in Indiana?

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2024 | Criminal Law

An operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) charge in Indiana can lead to a variety of consequences. The courts can incarcerate someone. Other penalties might include driver’s license suspension and large fines.

Many OWI charges involve people who have had too much to drink. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit. Some people get arrested for drugged driving rather than drunk driving. Prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs and also prohibited substances could lead to allegations of drugged driving.

Is drugged driving significantly different than a standard drunk driving offense?

The charges and penalties are the same

Indiana prosecutors charge people with OWI offenses regardless of whether the mind-altering substance involved in an offense was alcohol or another drug. Someone under the influence of opioid painkillers faces the same type of charge and the same standard penalties as someone accused of being over the legal limit for their BAC. Prior offenses and the impact the scenario has on others dictate what penalties someone may face. While the charges and penalties are largely the same, some of the rules that apply in drugged driving cases are different.

There are unique rules for drugged driving cases

Someone accused of an alcohol-related OWI could get arrested for failing a chemical test or displaying impaired ability at the wheel. Someone accused of drugged driving OWI offense is not subject to a specific chemical limit. There are no thresholds for illegal and prescribed drugs the way there is for alcohol. Simply admitting to consuming a mind-altering substance before driving or having the drug turn up in a chemical test could be an adequate reason for someone’s prosecution under Indiana OWI laws.

The defense strategies available in a drugged driving case are also different because of the different testing rules and procedures that apply in drugged driving OWI cases. Instead of raising questions about the accuracy of a breath test, for example, people might point out how certain drugs could lead to a positive drug test for weeks after someone consumed the substance. The nature of the drug and the reason for the traffic stop influence the best way to respond to drug-related OWI charges. Learning about Indiana laws may help people prepare an effective criminal defense strategy.