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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. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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