Public Intoxication

If you are an Indiana native or a racing fan, then you know May brings the famous Indianapolis 500 Race to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Indianapolis residents prepare for the big race by camping the night before the race, tailgating, and attending concerts in the “Snake Pit” at the racetrack. However, all of this excitement can lead to one thing: public intoxication charges.

Public Intoxication

According to the Indiana Code, to be convicted of public intoxication, “… [defendant must have been] in a public place and (1) endangering defendant’s life; (2) endangering the life of another person; (3) breaching the peace or is in imminent danger of breaching the peace; or (4) harassing, annoying, or alarming another person. IC § 7.1-5-1-3 (Burns, Lexis Advance through the end of the Second Regular Session of the 120th General Assembly). Essentially, you are not legally allowed to be intoxicated in public if you create any type of disturbance.

The purpose of this statute is to ensure all people have a safe environment to enjoy themselves without the fear of being annoyed or endangered by thousands of unruly drunk people.

The elements of this statute are very broad due to the subjective nature of words such as “annoying.” Therefore, you should plan to exercise extra caution to not bother those around you if you plan to drink while near the racetrack.

Law enforcement agents will use a “reasonableness standard” to assess your behavior. If they believe your behavior is not that of a reasonable person, in Indiana, they may charge you with public intoxication.

What happens if you a charged with public intoxication in Indiana?

If caught violating the public intoxication statute, you are likely to face aClass B misdemeanor charge.

“A person who commits a Class B misdemeanor shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of not more than one hundred eighty (180) days; in addition, he may be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).” IC § 35-50-3-3 (Burns, Lexis Advance through the end of the Second Regular Session of the 120th General Assembly).

If you are caught violating Indiana’s public intoxication law by a police officer at the race, you will need a criminal defense attorney. Contact Hayes Law Officeat 317-759-1515for competent and compassionate advice.


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