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Connecting the Midwest with the Great Lakes, Indiana is the 16th most populated U.S. state, despite being the smallest contiguous state west of the Appalachian Mountains.
Known as the Hoosier State, Indiana's motto "The Crossroads of America" makes reference to the state's central location, which makes it a hub for several major interstate highways. But what should those passing through or looking to become a Hoosier themselves be aware of when it comes to Indiana state laws?
Here at 10 laws you should know if you're in Indiana:
- Drunken driving is known as OWI. Although Indiana's drunken driving laws are very similar to those in states where the offense is called DUI or DWI, in Indiana, a drunken driving charge is known as an OWI, or operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
- Same-sex marriage. Earlier this year, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Indiana's prohibition on same-sex marriage. In October, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the ruling, and county clerks across the state were ordered to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
- No medical marijuana. Indiana does not allow for the use of marijuana, even for medicinal purposes. Possession of even a small amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor under Indiana law, and possession of larger quantities can be considered a felony.
- Banned weapons. Indiana's gun control laws outlaw the possession of certain weapons, including sawed-off shotguns, machine guns, and armor-piercing handgun ammunition. However, there is no waiting period for the purchase of legal firearms.
- Cigarette taxes. Indiana's cigarette tax is just under $1 per pack of 20. That's lower than that of neighboring Michigan's $2-per-pack tax, but higher than neighboring Kentucky's 60-cent tax.
- Minimum wage. Indiana's minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, with state employment laws mandating overtime pay for any hours worked beyond 40 in a week.
- School exit interview. Indiana's compulsory education laws require that children attend school from the age of 6 until they are 18. However, at 16, students may request an exit interview to potentially terminate compulsory school attendance.
- Prayer in public schools. Although Indiana law does not explicitly permit prayer, the state does permit public schools to hold a minute of silence in which students can choose to pray.
- Marital property. Indiana is not a community property state. Rather, the state considers property acquired by spouses during marriage to be marital property; without an agreement like a prenup in place, marital property will be divided by a court following divorce in a way it considers to be "fair."
- Most gambling prohibited. Like many states, Indiana law forbids most forms of gambling with the exception of horse racing and riverboat casinos on Lake Michigan, the Ohio River, and Patoka Lake. However, Indiana does allow for "bona fide contests of skill, speed, strength, or endurance" as well as bingo, raffles, and "gaming nights" for charity.
Learn more about Indiana state laws at FindLaw's section on Indiana Law.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.