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Justices: No drunk driving on private property

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A person driving drunk can be arrested even if they are driving on private property, including their own property, ruled the Indiana Supreme Court Wednesday.

The high court reversed the trial court's grant of Adam Manuwal's motion to suppress evidence following his arrest for two Class A misdemeanors, operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person and operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent of 0.15 or more, after driving an all-terrain vehicle on his own property and crashing. Police suspected Manuwal had been drinking and had blood drawn at the hospital.

After the trial court granted Manuwal's motion to supress, the state dismissed the charges and brought this appeal in State of Indiana v. Adam L. Manuwal, No. 50S05-0805-CR-269, pursuant to statutory authority. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court.

The state argued the language of Indiana Code Sections 9-30-5-1(b) and -2 isn't restricted to just vehicles driven on public thoroughfares and Indiana's interest in protecting citizens extends to private property. Manuwal argued the caselaw that has applied the statutes prohibiting drunk driving to operating on private property only where it's probable the driver might come in contact with the public shouldn't be extended to a driver's use of their vehicle on their own property.

After examining the statutes at issue in this case, the justices unanimously agreed regardless of where a defendant's driving occurred, even on his or her own property, the state can charge him or her with intoxicated driving offenses pursuant to I.C. Sections 9-30-5-1(b) and -2, wrote Justice Brent Dickson.

In addition, the Court of Appeals has applied statutes prohibiting operating a vehicle while intoxicated to driving on private property. The Supreme Court declined to address Manuwal's argument that extending the OWI provisions to his own property violate his constitutional rights because he didn't support or develop his claim, and remanded the cause to the trial court.

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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