Am I OWI? How Do I Know If I am Legal to Drive?

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What is OWI?

OWI is an acronym that stands for driving while intoxicated. While this is usually used in reference to those who drive drunk, it can also be used to refer to individuals who drive while under the influence of drugs, legal and illicit. While there are legal limits assigned designed to define what operating while intoxicated means, at least in legal terms, the truth is that you can be charged with OWI even if the amount of alcohol or other substance in your bloodstream doesn’t meet the legal definition for OWI.

Can I Be Charged With OWI, Even If I Am Not Impaired?

The short answer is yes. You can be charged with OWI even if your driving is not impaired so long as the amount of alcohol or other substance is known and it meets or exceeds the limit defined by law as OWI. Unfortunately, many individuals claim that their driving was fine and that the officer has pulled them over for an infraction that is separate from OWI and were charged with it after the fact.

The truth is that whether or not you feel as though your driving was not impaired, each state has imposed its own definition of OWI. This means that if you meet the legal limitations for OWI or exceed them, you can be charged with OWI, whether your driving was impaired or not. In addition, if you are found to be under the influence of an illegal substance, you can be charged with OWI no matter what the concentration of the substance is in your blood.

Conversely, if your driving exhibits some degree of impairment, you can also be charged with an OWI, even if the amount of alcohol or other substance in your blood is less than the defined legal limits. This is because you are operating while impaired.

What is a Per Se Charge?

When you are charged with OWI per se, it means that you are charged with OWI based solely on the amount of alcohol or other intoxicating substance in your bloodstream and has absolutely nothing to do with your ability to operate a motor vehicle. The arresting officer also does not need to collect any additional data regarding your ability to operate a vehicle (or lack thereof) in order to secure a charge against you that you will have to appear in court to answer.

Can I Represent Myself in an OWI?

You can, although most legal experts will advise you strongly against it. The judicial system does not look kindly down on those who drive while intoxicated and will generally levy harsh penalties against those who do engage in such activities. It usually takes the skill of an experienced lawyer to get your charges reduced and help you eliminate hefty fines and have the charges reduced to a lesser crime. What’s more is that a good attorney can help keep your Indiana Arrest Records from turning into a public affair.
Indiana Arrest Records can make life difficult for those who have been arrested and charged with OWI. Visit today to learn more.
Marchelle Lamaster

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