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Date: 03-24-2019

Case Style:

Amanda Williams v. State of Indiana

Case Number: 18A-CR-2600

Judge: Terry A. Crone

Court: COURT OF APPEALS OF INDIANA

Plaintiff's Attorney: Evan Matthew Comer Deputy Attorney General

Defendant's Attorney: Ellen M. O’Connor Marion County Public Defender Agency

Description:




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A little before 10:00 p.m. on July 15, 2017, Scott Drum and his girlfriend were
traveling westbound on Brookville Road when they stopped at a red light at the
intersection of Brookville and Post Roads. While stopped, they observed a
light-colored SUV that was traveling on Post Road run the red light and
continue westbound on Brookville Road. Drum and his girlfriend followed the
SUV. Drum’s girlfriend called 911 after the SUV “swerved really bad into the
southbound lane” and nearly hit an oncoming car. Tr. Vol. 2 at 12. Traffic
eventually was stopped by a train that was crossing at Emerson Avenue. After
the train passed, the SUV “didn’t move and the cars were beeping and honking
… [because] [n]obody could get around [the SUV].” Id.
[3] Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Daniel Majors was
dispatched to the scene of “a possible intoxicated driver that was sitting at 300
South Emerson … that was obstructing traffic.” Id. at 15. Officer Majors
observed the driver, later identified as Williams, “passed out” in the driver’s
seat of the SUV with the engine running and the transmission in drive. Id. at
16. After Officer Majors and another officer used their squad cars to block the
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 18A-CR-2600 | March 22, 2019 Page 3 of 7

front and back of the vehicle for safety purposes, Officer Majors leaned into the
vehicle and put the car in park. He observed an “open hard alcohol container”
in the vehicle, and he noticed a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from
Williams’s breath. Id. at 17. When Officer Majors awakened Williams, she
appeared “[s]hocked” and “groggy.” Id. Officer Majors observed that her eyes
were bloodshot and watery, and her speech was slurred. As Officer Majors had
Williams exit the vehicle, he also observed that her balance was unsteady.
[4] Officer Majors and an additional officer who had arrived at the scene, Adam
Jones, escorted Williams to a nearby sidewalk to conduct field sobriety testing.
Officer Jones observed that Williams’s eyes were glassy and bloodshot and that
her pupils were constricted. He also smelled the odor of alcohol and observed
her balance to be unsteady. Officer Jones administered the horizontal gaze
nystagmus test and noted that Williams failed all six factors of the test and also
seemed to “nod off” a couple times during the test. Id. at 23. Officer Jones
decided not to administer additional tests out of concern for Williams’s safety.
After Officer Jones read Williams her Miranda rights, Williams admitted to
Officer Jones that she had consumed alcohol that evening and taken a
hydrocodone pill. Officer Jones read Williams Indiana’s implied consent law
and transported her to Eskenazi Hospital. While there, Williams consented to
a blood draw. The blood draw was completed at 11:32 p.m. Lab results
indicated that Williams’s blood alcohol content (“BAC”) was .078.
[5] The State charged Williams with class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle
while intoxicated endangering a person and class C misdemeanor operating a
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 18A-CR-2600 | March 22, 2019 Page 4 of 7

vehicle while intoxicated. A bench trial was held on October 3, 2018. During
trial, in addition to the testimony of Drum, Officer Majors, and Officer Jones,
the State offered the testimony of forensic toxicologist Dr. Sheila Arnold. Dr.
Arnold testified that someone with a .08 BAC would show impaired judgment,
impaired vision and auditory skills, and some impaired motor skills. She
further stated that it was possible for someone to show those same signs of
intoxication below a .08 BAC. Id. at 27. The trial court found Williams guilty
as charged. The trial court merged the class C misdemeanor conviction with
the class A misdemeanor conviction, entered judgment of conviction on the
class A misdemeanor, and sentenced Williams to a fully suspended 365-day
sentence.1 This appeal ensued.
Discussion and Decision
[6] Williams challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting her conviction.
In reviewing a claim of insufficient evidence, “we neither reweigh evidence nor
judge witness credibility. We consider only the evidence supporting the
judgment and any reasonable inferences that can be drawn from such
evidence.” Krueger v. State, 56 N.E.3d 1240, 1243 (Ind. Ct. App. 2016) (citation
1 At the conclusion of the bench trial, the trial judge first stated that she was entering judgment of conviction on both counts, but she later clarified, “Rather than judgment of conviction entered on [the class C misdemeanor] … that will be merged into count one.” Tr. Vol. 2 at 32. No abstract of judgment is contained in the record, and the trial court’s sentencing order makes no mention of the class C misdemeanor. So, we will presume based upon the trial judge’s statement that she properly entered judgment of conviction only on the class A misdemeanor. We note that, had the trial judge entered judgment of conviction on both counts, merger alone would not have been “a sufficient remedy” for a double jeopardy violation, and it would have been necessary for us to remand for the court to vacate one of the convictions. See Bass v. State, 75 N.E.3d 1100, 1103 (Ind. Ct. App. 2017). Thankfully, the trial judge apparently caught her error before entering judgment of conviction on both counts.
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 18A-CR-2600 | March 22, 2019 Page 5 of 7

omitted), trans. denied. It is “not necessary that the evidence overcome every
reasonable hypothesis of innocence.” Lindhorst v. State, 90 N.E.3d 695, 701
(Ind. Ct. App. 2017). We will affirm if there is “substantial evidence of
probative value such that a reasonable trier of fact could have concluded the
defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” Krueger, 56 N.E.3d at 1243.
[7] Indiana Code Section 9-30-5-2(a) provides that “[a] person who operates a
vehicle while intoxicated commits a Class C misdemeanor.” The offense “is a
Class A misdemeanor if the person operates a vehicle in a manner that
endangers a person.” Ind. Code § 9-30-5-2(b). Williams does not challenge the
State’s evidence that she operated a vehicle, or that her operating manner could
have endangered any person.2 She challenges only the sufficiency of the
evidence tending to show intoxication. Indiana Code Section 9-13-2-86 defines
“intoxicated” in pertinent part as under the influence of alcohol, a controlled
substance, a drug other than alcohol or a controlled substance, or a
combination of substances “so that there is an impaired condition of thought
and action and the loss of normal control of a person’s faculties.” Impairment
can be established by evidence of the following: “(1) the consumption of a
significant amount of alcohol; (2) impaired attention and reflexes; (3) watery or
bloodshot eyes; (4) the odor of alcohol on the breath; (5) unsteady balance; and

2 “The element of endangerment can be established by evidence showing that the defendant’s condition or operating manner could have endangered any person, including the public, the police, or the defendant.” Outlaw v. State, 918 N.E.2d 379, 381 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009), adopted by 929 N.E.2d 196 (Ind. 2010).
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 18A-CR-2600 | March 22, 2019 Page 6 of 7

(6) slurred speech.” Outlaw v. State, 918 N.E.2d 379, 381 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009),
adopted by 929 N.E.2d 196 (Ind. 2010).
[8] Our review of the record reveals that the State presented ample evidence that
Williams was impaired. Williams admitted to officers at the scene that she
consumed both alcohol and a controlled substance prior to driving on July 15,
2017. Drum testified about his observations of Williams’s erratic driving and
subsequent passing out while waiting for the train to pass. Two officers testified
at length regarding Williams’s impaired attention and reflexes, her watery
bloodshot eyes, the odor of alcohol on her breath, her unsteady balance, and
her slurred speech. The officers both stated that, based on their training and
experience, they believed Williams was intoxicated.
[9] Still, Williams asserts that, in light of her .078 BAC test result, the evidence is
insufficient to prove intoxication beyond a reasonable doubt. First, we note
that although Indiana Code Section 9-30-5-2 requires proof of intoxication, it
does not require proof of any BAC. Indeed, BAC is only a measure of blood
alcohol content, while intoxication can involve being under the influence of
alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug other than alcohol or a controlled
substance, or a combination of substances. See Ind. Code § 9-13-2-86. Thus, as
noted above, proof of intoxication concentrates on proof of “an impaired
condition of thought and action and the loss of normal control of a person’s
faculties” and not on any test result. Id. The State presented sufficient evidence
of impairment such that a reasonable trier of fact could have concluded beyond
Court of Appeals of Indiana | Memorandum Decision 18A-CR-2600 | March 22, 2019 Page 7 of 7

a reasonable doubt that Williams was intoxicated when she operated her
vehicle.

Outcome: Therefore, we affirm her conviction.

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:

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