What’s the Difference Between an OWI and a DUI in Indiana?

Posted 3 years ago — Ooley Law Blog

Driving under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is considered a crime in all fifty states. However, the states do not all agree on what this charge is officially called—driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), operating under the influence while impaired (OUI), or other such terms, vary from state to state. In Indiana, the act of driving while drunk or while under the influence of drugs is officially called “OWI,” which stands for “operating a vehicle while intoxicated.” So, does an OWI charge differ at all from a DUI charge in other states? Let’s take a look.

Subtle Differences

There is a slight difference between states that use the term “driving” and those that use the term “operating.” According to Indianapolis attorney John L. Tompkins, “In an ‘operating’ state, any operation of the controls counts. In a ‘driving’ state, you have to actually be driving.”

This means that, in states like Indiana, merely sitting in the driver’s seat and fiddling with the radio while you are intoxicated could be grounds for an officer to arrest you. In fact, some individuals have been arrested for less, such as sitting in an idling car or (in an extreme case) riding a horse.

Harsh Penalties

States across the nation are cracking down on DUI and OWI crimes in an effort to keep the roads safe. If you are found guilty of an OWI offense, you could spend up to sixty days in jail and/or pay a $500 fine. In more severe cases, such as if your OWI injures or kills someone else, you could face much steeper and harsher penalties.

Reach Out to a Skilled OWI Lawyer

If you or a loved one is currently facing an OWI charge in Indiana, you need reliable and effective legal representation as soon as possible. Don’t let one mistake jeopardize your future. Call Ooley Law today at (812) 567-3848 to speak to a skilled and knowledgeable OWI attorney.