Indiana Drunk Driving Statues Discussion from Accident Attorneys Young and Young

Did you know that there are different statutes dealing with drunk driving? I want to address just a few.  The first is the statute that we are likely to use against a first time offender. See 9-30-5-1.  This statue makes it a crime to operate a vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent to at least eight-hundredths (0.08) gram of alcohol but less than fifteen-hundredths (0.15) gram of alcohol per: (1) one hundred (100) milliliters of the person’s blood; or (2) two hundred ten (210) liters of the person’s breath.  A violation of this statute is a class c misdemeanor, i.e. punishable by among other things less than one year in jail.  We think this is too lenient. It is no secret that drivers with this much alcohol in their blood are dangerous because they cause drunk driving accidents.  In these drunk driving accidents, innocent Hoosiers suffer wrongful death and serious personal injury such as spinal cord injury, broken bones and brain injury. As the rate of drunk driving remains at a constant level, it is clear that this punishment is not effective at deterring drunk driving.

If a driver operates a vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent to at least fifteen-hundredths (0.15) gram of alcohol per (1) one hundred (100) milliliters of the person’s blood; or (2) two hundred ten (210) liters of the person’s breath; they commit a commits a Class A misdemeanor. Still the punishment is less than a year in jail.

While it is true that if the drunk driver causes serious bodily injury or death, the punishment is enhanced to a C felony, punishable up to 8 years in jail, rarely will the drunk driver spend any more than four of those years in jail.  Four years can seem like a long time, but I have yet to know a family that is not shocked at the leniency the criminal justice system shows to one who chooses to drink and drive, knowing the potential consequences, when the drunk driving accident kills or seriously injures a loved one. If we are to deter this kind of behavior we must use a multifaceted approach including alcohol awareness for teens, parents talking to their kids about the dangers of alcohol, effective treatment and strong punishment to make people think twice before they get behind the wheel after drinking.

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