The Defense Never Rests

Public intoxication charges versus intoxication in public

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2024 | Criminal Law

Indiana law treats public intoxication charges and simply being at a level of intoxication while out in public as separate issues. Of course, the two may seem synonymous at first glance.

However, they carry different consequences and implications.

Public intoxication charges

Public intoxication charges mean officers may believe a person was visibly intoxicated in a public place and posed a danger to themselves or others. This charge can arise when a person’s level of intoxication reaches certain points. For example, they may be unable to care for their own safety or are causing a disturbance to those around them.

Factors that can contribute to a public intoxication charge include slurred speech, impaired coordination, aggressive behavior or the inability to communicate coherently. Officers may arrest people showing such behaviors in public places, such as streets, parks, or establishments serving alcohol. A Class B misdemeanor can result. However, officers may make errors in judgment or during the arrest process. A charge does not always mean a conviction.

Being intoxicated in public

People can be at a level of intoxication while in a public space. They can do this without causing a disturbance or posing a danger. Indiana’s public intoxication statutes specifically focus on individuals whose behavior is disruptive or potentially harmful due to intoxication.

In essence, being at a level of intoxication in public becomes an issue when it escalates to a point where it may interfere with the peace and safety of the community. Mere inebriation while in a public setting may not lead to legal repercussions.

Understanding the difference in intoxication charges is important since many people choose to consume alcohol. This is usually not illegal. However, it is necessary to recognize the nuances of public intoxication laws.