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Appeals court recalls OWI decision

December 15, 2010

The Indiana Court of Appeals vacated a decision handed down Dec. 9 in which the court was split on the dismissal of a man’s operating while intoxicated charges. The issue was whether the charges should have been dismissed because the defendant didn’t know what vehicle he needed to defend against operating based on the charging information.  

According to the docket for State of Indiana v. Richard J. Laker Jr., No. 2A04-0912-CR-736, the appellate judges recalled, withdrew, and vacated their opinion on Dec. 13. The docket explains that a substitute opinion will be issued in due course.

In the original opinion, Judges Melissa May and Margret Robb found the charging information on the four counts Laker faced to be deficient. None of the charges specified whether it was the tractor or the Lexus that he illegally operated.

Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented on the dismissal of three of Laker’s counts, finding the state’s pleading materials on the whole sufficiently apprised Laker of the state’s charges.

Laker was arrested after police saw him on the side of the road driving a tractor trying to get a Lexus out of a ditch. He claimed that a friend called him to help get the Lexus out of the ditch. Laker didn’t have a driver’s license, his driving privileges had been suspended, and he blew a 0.10 on a chemical breath test.

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