Indiana Drugged Driving

In Indiana, a person in guilty of DUI-marijuana if he or she if operates a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. Those individuals who test positive for past exposure to marijuana but who are no longer under its influence and/or who are not responsible for a motor vehicle accident are not subject to the state’s DUI per se laws.

Affirmative Defense

It is a defense that the driver consumed the controlled substance under a valid prescription or order of a practitioner who acted in the course of the practitioner’s professional practice. Id. § 9-30-5-1(d).

NOTE: A doctor’s recommendation to use cannabis is NOT a valid prescription.

It is a defense if the following criteria are met:

(A) controlled substance is marijuana or a metabolite of marijuana;
(B) person was not intoxicated;
(C) person did not cause a traffic accident; and
(D) substance was identified by means of a chemical test taken pursuant to IC 9-30-7.

Implied Consent

  • A person who operates a vehicle impliedly consents to submit to chemical tests as a condition of operating a vehicle in Indiana. Id. § 9-30-6-1. A person must submit to each chemical test offered by an officer, or it will be considered a refusal. Id. § 9-30-6-2(d).
  • If the person refuses, the officer will immediately revoke the driver’s license and driving privileges will be suspended for one year. Id. § 9-30-6-7(b); Id. 9-30-6-9(b)(1)(A). The driver is entitled to an appeal hearing. Id. § 9-30-6-10.
  • The chemical tests must be administered within three hours after the law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe the person is driving while under the influence. Id. § 9-30-6-2(c).
  • At any proceeding for driving under the influence, refusal to submit to a chemical test is admissible into evidence. Id. § 9-30-6-3(b).


  • First offense Misdemeanor– jail for a minimum of 5 days up to 60 days; up to 180 hours of community service; fine of up to $500; license suspension up to 2 years; court fees of at least $300; probation up to 2 years. Id. § 9-30-5-1(a); Id. § 9-30-5-15(a); Id. § 9-30-5-10
  • Second offense Class “D” Felony – jail for a minimum of 5 days up to 3 years; fine of up to $10,000; license suspension for a minimum of 180 days up to 2 years; probation up to 2 years. Id. § 9-30-5-3(1); Id. § 9-30-5-15(b); 9-30-5-10
  • Third offense Class “D” Felony – jail for a minimum of 10 days up to 3 years; fine of up to $10,000; license suspension for a minimum of 1 year; probation of up to 2 years. Id. § 9-30-5-15(c); Id. § 9-30-5-10.

Other Penalties & Penalty Enhancers

  • If serious bodily injury or death results. Id. §§ 9-30-5-4, 5.
  • If a passenger under 18 years of age is in the vehicle. Id. § 9-30-5-3(a)(2).
  • The courts shall recommend suspension or revocation of the person’s driving privileges for at least 6 months, because marijuana is a schedule I controlled substance. Id. § 9-30-5-10(c).
  • Restitution of no more than $1,000 to the state for the cost of emergency medical services. Id. § 9-30-5-17(a)(2).

Sobriety Checkpoints

Indiana allows law enforcement officials to conduct roadblocks under the Federal Constitution.

  • Avoiding a checkpoint was sufficient cause to conduct a stop. Police officer must have reasonable facts to base suspicion, not mere speculation. Snyder v. State, 538 N.E.2d 961 (1989).
  • Drug interdiction checkpoint held a violation of Constitution. Indianapolis v. Edmond, 121 S.Ct. 447 (2000).

Case Law

Brown v. State, 744 N.E.2d 989 (2001) — concern of the DUID statute was not how the metabolite entered the blood but rather whether a metabolite is present in said blood.

Hoornaert v. State, 652 N.E.2d 874 (1995) — Court of Appeals could not infer that defendant had marijuana in his blood to support conviction for operating vehicle with controlled substance in his blood, even though he exhibited signs of impairment and refused urinalysis, and even if he was impaired by marijuana use.

Estes v. State, 656 N.E.2d 528 (1995) — Urine test indicating defendant had marijuana metabolites in system was insufficient to prove that defendant had marijuana in his blood, and did not support conviction for operating vehicle with controlled substance in blood.

Radick v. State, 863 N.E.2d 356 (2007) – Evidence was sufficient to convict where defendant was operating vehicle at time of one-vehicle accident, defendant told emergency personnel that that he had used marijuana, lab tests revealed that defendant had THC in his blood.

Rhoades v. State, 675 N.E.2d 698 (1996) — Evidence that defendant was involved in automobile accident, that pipe which smelled of burned marijuana was found on front seat of automobile, and that defendant’s urine contained marijuana metabolites formed sufficient factual basis to support guilty plea to operating vehicle with controlled substance in blood.

Per Se Drugged Driving Laws

Indiana has a zero tolerance per se drugged driving law enacted for other controlled substances. (Indiana Code Annotated, Section 9-30-5-1 & Section 9-30-5-2)

Violating the law is punishable by up to 60 days in jail upon conviction for a first offense.