How does Indiana handle out of state OWI convictions?
In Indiana, an out of state Operating while Intoxicated (OWI) conviction can only be used to enhance an Indiana OWI to a felony if the out of state OWI statute is substantially similar to Indiana’s OWI statute.
In State v Bazan, the Indiana Court of Appeals determined that the trial court properly dismissed the defendant’s Level 6 felony charges for OWI with a prior conviction because his prior New York conviction was not substantially similar to Indiana’s OWI offense. The New York conviction for operating a vehicle while ability impaired did not require the State to prove the defendant was intoxicated when he drove but only that his driving ability was impaired to any extent. Indiana, on the other hand, requires the prosecutor to prove an impaired condition of thought and action and the loss of normal control of a person’s faculties. Thus, the Indiana OWI statute requires a greater showing of impairment than the New York statute, meaning the two statutes are not substantially similar.
With over 30 years of experience, Steven Knecht is familiar with the possible defenses to operating while intoxicated and other criminal charges. If you find yourself having been arrested, you should immediately hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer that you can trust such as Steven Knecht to help you fight the State because you have a lot at stake on the outcome.