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On January 11th, an Indiana man—David Domino—waived his right to a preliminary hearing and instead opted to face trial for vehicular homicide and drunk driving charges in Indiana County Common Pleas Court.
The driver was originally charged in November, following an accident that occurred while operating his motorcycle. Police reported that he had slurred speech and his breath smelled of alcohol. A sample of his blood taken shortly after the crash indicated that his blood alcohol level was .171 percent.
Domino is now being charged for the death of the fellow passenger on his motorcycle, but the circumstances surrounding his arrest elicit questions surrounding when and how police can test citizens for driving under the influence (DUIs), in general.
In Indiana, driving under the influence can involve consumption of drugs or alcohol. As in other states, for the average driver, the legal limit is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent (in other words, you are considered to be over the limit if you have a BAC of at least .08 percent); .04 percent for commercial drivers; and .02 percent for drivers under the age of 21.
Police are able to ask that you take a breath, blood, or urine test to determine if, and how much, alcohol (or other substance) is in your system, if they suspect that you are operating a vehicle while intoxicated. But what constitutes lawful suspicion, in terms of demanding this testing, especially given that refusing to take a chemical test can automatically cost you your license for two years?
It is entirely possible to be arrested for drunk driving without actually being drunk, unfortunately, given that, for some, having any amount of alcohol in their system could lead to positive results which surpass the BAC limit on these tests. And if you do surpass the threshold on these tests, it can affect criminal charges against you, regardless of what actually caused the accident.
Therefore, there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to being stopped by police and asking to take a chemical test: First, police officers need reasonable suspicion to conduct a traffic stop. This can include violating a traffic regulation, or an obvious issue with your car, such as a tail light being out, or swerving while you drive, etc. However, simply violating a traffic regulation, or getting in an accident, does not provide the evidence necessary for a police officer to demand a chemical test, thus, in addition, be careful about offering any additional information or being too talkative if you are interacting with police. For example, if you are directly asked if you have been drinking, you can respond with a question, such as why they ask or if they would like to see your license.
If you’ve been charged with drunk driving, it is important to contact a Fort Wayne DUI defense lawyer right away. This is because how you respond to law enforcement during a traffic stop can determine the outcome of your DUI case, especially when it comes to how police gather evidence, and whether/how that evidence can be used in a case against you.
If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact our office at 260-428-2214 or online. We are here to help.
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