The State of Indiana takes DUI / OVWI charges very seriously. In many cases, it may even seem like a DUI / OVWI is being treated more harshly than other crimes.
For example, let’s say two people with no criminal history are out at a bar and get into a fight. Criminal charges of disorderly conduct or battery would both require the State to prove intent—sometimes called mens rea by judges and fancy attorneys.
The folks who got into the bar fight may well be able to get their criminal charges dismissed after taking some classes related to substance abuse and/or anger management. This is because mens rea can be very difficult to prove.
A DUI / OVWI charge, on the other hand, has no mens rea requirement. Let’s say you were out at the bar where the fight happened, but you stayed out of it. On your way home, you’re pulled over for having a taillight out.
If the officer smells booze or otherwise suspects you of being intoxicated, it will not matter that you didn’t intend to drive drunk. Intent has nothing to do with it, because Indiana classifies DUI / OVWI as a strict liability crime. In practice, this means the State treats DUI / OVWI charges very seriously, especially in comparison to something like battery or misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that DUI / OVWI charges are no big deal. If you need an attorney or have any questions, give us a call at 317-632-3642 and remember—always plead the 5th!