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Don’t Be Fooled: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving

January 24, 2017 Automobile Accidents

Every driver on the road has the responsibility to be as safe as possible—both for their own sake and for the safety of everyone else on the road.

Drunk driving laws, or “operating while intoxicated” (OWI) laws in Indiana, were put in place as a way to keep motorists and passengers safe. In fact, in 1939, Indiana became the first state to have a law setting a blood alcohol content (BAC) for drunk driving. Times have changed since then—the limit was 0.15%, much higher than today’s 0.08%, which was established in 2001—but that doesn’t change the fact that our state was a pioneer in road safety.

Our personal injury attorneys recommend getting a designated driver rather than trying to drive with any amount of alcohol in your system. It can be tempting to not go through the trouble of trying to coordinate a ride, especially if you’ve only had one drink. People can often think that they’re fine when they’re “buzzed” and “not really drunk.”

The problem is that buzzed driving, or driving with a BAC of anywhere between 0.01% and 0.07%, is still dangerous. Drivers who are even minimally buzzed are often responsible for fatal accidents.

In Indiana, like in all other states, it’s illegal to drive a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The difference in levels of intoxication or impairment only determines the extent of the criminal penalties you receive for breaking the law.

OWI Criminal Penalties in Indiana

Those criminal penalties can vary based on a number of factors. The BAC level, the age of the driver or passengers, and the number or type of any prior OWI convictions can all play a role in what penalties are given to a buzzed driver. In some cases, a driver can have their license suspended or revoked. Jail time, fines, and community service can also be part of an OWI driver’s penalty. Here are some other hard rules to keep in mind:

  • Indiana and all other states have zero-tolerance laws. Anyone under the legal drinking age of 21 that has a BAC of 0.02% while on the road is considered impaired.
  • Commercial drivers are held to higher standards while they’re on the job. The BAC limit for these drivers is 0.04%.
  • All drivers have a limit of 0.08% to be considered impaired. Due to Indiana’s “per se” laws, no other evidence outside of the BAC reading is required to show that a driver is impaired. Even if the driver is “fine,” they can still be convicted of an OWI charge.
  • Implied consent is a part of Indiana’s OWI laws. While drivers have the option to refuse drug or alcohol tests, this opens them up to potentially getting their license revoked.

Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident?

If the worst does happen and you were involved in an impaired driving accident that wasn’t your fault, you could have a personal injury case. The attorneys at WKW have years of experience in personal injury cases and are familiar with Indiana’s laws. For a free, no obligation consultation, call our Indianapolis office a call at 317-920-6400 or fill out a contact form.

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