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3 reasons police officers may arrest people for drunk driving

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2024 | OWI Defense

Operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) charges are relatively common in Indiana. People from all different backgrounds may get arrested on OWI allegations. Frequently, those accused of drunk driving plead guilty and then cope with years of lingering consequences.

Anyone who regularly enjoys alcoholic beverages may be at elevated risk when compared with the general public for an OWI arrest. There are typically three scenarios that may lead to someone’s arrest for impaired driving in Indiana.

Driving in an impaired manner

Sometimes, police officers know as soon as they pull someone over that they are likely under the influence of a mind-altering substance. The motorist has already engaged in very unsafe behavior, such as swerving all over the road or braking erratically for seemingly no reason. When police officers witness clearly unsafe driving, they can arrest an individual based on their behavior on the road and possibly their performance during field sobriety tests.

Failing a chemical breath test

Police officers conducting traffic stops and also those responding to crashes often perform chemical tests to determine if someone is over the legal limit for their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Someone who fails a breath test likely faces arrest even if they were not the party at fault for the crash or their driving seemed relatively normal.

Refusing a chemical breath test

There are certain scenarios in which police officers have the right to request a chemical test when they suspect impairment. The implied consent law in Indiana makes it a separate violation for someone to refuse chemical testing if an officer already believes they have grounds to arrest someone for an OWI. Someone who declines to perform a post-arrest test could face prosecution for both an OWI and the implied consent statute violation that occurred. Police officers can share information about traffic stops, including the conduct of a motorist when they pulled them over and their refusal to perform a test, as part of the prosecution for an OWI offense.

Understanding when police officers can arrest someone for allegations of drunk driving may benefit those who want to avoid an arrest or better respond to pending criminal charges.