DUI / OVWI, DWI, OVWI—they all essentially mean the same thing in Indiana, right? Well, there are actually three separate, distinct situations that can lead to a DUI / OVWI charge in Indiana. It’s worth being familiar with these scenarios because:

1) they can happen to anyone; and

2) many facts overlap, but other facts can be specific to each type of DUI / OVWI charge.

First: Being Intoxicated While Driving

In Indiana, intoxicated means that there is an impaired condition of thought or action and the loss of normal control of a person’s faculties. What does that mean? Basically, someone is falling down, they’re acting weird, they’re stumbling, they can’t grab things correctly, or they’re not thinking straight. Surprise—these are the very things officers first look for when starting a DUI / OVWI investigation.

Police look for clues of intoxication during traffic stops: Fumbling with your license or registration? Bad dexterity. Pulling yourself out of the car? That could be a sign of intoxication. Officers are looking for anything that’s different from how a person “normally” acts.

This is why the police are always asking people to do stupid human tricks—what we call standardized field sobriety tests. These tests are garbage and involve scrutiny of a bunch of things that people don’t ordinarily do:

  • balance on one leg;
  • keep your arms to your side;
  • count to ten out loud;
  • take ten steps forward without raising your hands;
  • stay in a straight line;
  • take only nine steps coming back;
  • follow this light with your eyes and not your head;
  • etc.

Click here to read on about the potential consequences of multiple DUI / OVWI charges.