Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Ignition Interlock Devices
Q: Hi there, my father is an alcoholic and has had 2 DUI arrests. After a year off from drinking due to a series of knee surgeries, he has started driving again and is basically intoxicated most of that time. My family is wondering if there is anything we can do to get him off the street and in turn get him away from potentially killing an innocent family or person. We have looked into an interlock system so that he will have to breath into a device in order to start the car. That seem like the best alternative since my mom works and cannot take his car keys away and cannot babysit him all the time and know what he is up to. Does that require a court order to get that done?

A: A breath interlock device for the ignitions is a smart idea. These are sometimes ordered in DUI/OWI convictions by judges, although this is unfortunately not a common option in St. Joseph County cases that I have seen.

All DUI offenders have the potential to benefit from the use of an ignition interlock - its installation allows offenders to maintain their responsibilities while also reminding them that their behavior has a direct impact on their right to drive. Court systems and motor vehicle administrations agree that it is a valuable tool because it deters individuals from driving while intoxicated while the device is installed. Additionally, when its use is required as a provision of probation/parole, the threat of doing jail time better ensures that DUI offenders will correctly use the device each and every time he/she gets behind the wheel.

In your case, the installation would be dependent upon court order or through the BMV. If your father is still on probation for an OWI offense, you may be able to petition for this by discussing it with his probation officer. If he is not, it is unfortunately unlikely that one can involuntarily be placed without his consent or court order. You may try contacting the BMV as well to see if they have any input. Another option may be to research the use and attempt to convince your father that it may be a valuable tool in preventing another OWI before it happens with possible tragic outcomes. Good Luck!


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 3:05 PM  
Saturday, November 01, 2008
DUI with Drugs?
Q: I read your article on your Drug Recognition Experts and was wondering if someone can be arrested if they are taking a prescription drug, but have not been drinking?

A: Definitely. Prescription drug abuse is a HUGE problem nationally and one that I have run into during DRE evaluations as well. indiana Statute 9-30-5-1 states that it is a violation if a person drives, operates, or is in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance:
(c) A person who operates a vehicle with a controlled substance listed in schedule I or II of IC 35-48-2 or its metabolite in the person's body commits a Class C misdemeanor.
(d) It is a defense to subsection (c) that the accused person consumed the controlled substance under a valid prescription or order of a practitioner (as defined in IC 35-48-1) who acted in the course of the practitioner's professional practice.

It does not matter if the person has a prescription or not (it is, however, an affirmative defense if they are taking the prescription as prescribed). It also states that it is a violation to be “knowingly under the influence of a hazardous substance that affects the nervous system, brain, or muscles of the person so as to substantially impair the person's ability to drive or operate the motor vehicle.” Those items include paint, paint thinner, glue, etc.

As many medications of depressants or narcotics indicate that alcohol may intensify the effects, or recommend to not operate heavy machinery (they also mean driving), mixing even one 12 oz. beer with a prescription drug like Vicodin and intensify the effects on a persons body which can impair them off, for example, one drink (maybe a .02 BAC) but when combined with the drugs in the system can impair a persons ability to safely drive a vehicle the same as a .11 BAC as an example. great care and forethought should be used if you are in this situation.

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posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:06 AM  
Liability in OWI
Q: What is the liability of a person who serves too much alcohol to an individual who is then involved in a drunk driving crash?

A: Indiana law does allow both commercial AND social hosts (meaning businesses and individual persons to be held liable in cases of crashes/injury, either through laws on the books or thorough case law decisions. In one case, in Indiana, a jury awarded $60 million to two plaintiffs injured by a drunk driver who had been served free drinks at a grand opening in a civil suit. Hosts and servers need to be very aware of this possibility and have a legal and moral responsibility to take steps to ensure the overserved person is able to safely make their way home, through use of a designated driver, sober friends, or as always, it is far easier to take a cab for $20.00 than the thousands of dollars you will face for a OWI conviction.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 9:58 AM  

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