Public Intoxication Defense Lawyer for Indianapolis

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There are certain offenses defined in state statutes that are intended to govern general public conduct. When it comes to public displays of alcohol intoxication, states that decide to enact laws that regulate this particular public conduct have two possible approaches. The first approach is to treat it as a traditional crime that is punishable by imprisonment, fines, probation, and community service. The states that take this approach usually consider public intoxication as a misdemeanor. The second approach views chronic public intoxication from a medical perspective that should be addressed through medical treatment or other non-criminal measures. Under this second approach, statutes usually send intoxicated persons to a treatment facility or to spend time temporarily in a county jail until their intoxication passes.

In Indiana, the state public intoxication statute takes a hybrid approach. While it is considered a misdemeanor with potential fines and jail time, it also provides the police with discretion for non-punitive responses. Since there are still potentially serious consequences to a public intoxication charge, you should consult seasoned Indianapolis public intoxication lawyer Chris Eskew of Eskew Law, LLC if you are facing such a charge in the Indianapolis or Central Indiana areas.

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Prohibition on Public Intoxication in Indiana

Under Ind. Code § 7.1-5-1-3, a person is prohibited from being present in a public place or a place of public resort in an intoxicated stated caused by use of alcohol or a controlled substance if that person:

  • Endangers his or her own life;
  • Endangers the life of another;
  • Breaches the peace or is in imminent danger of breaching the peace; or
  • Harasses, annoys, or alarms another person.

Public intoxication is considered a Class B misdemeanor. Ind. Code § 35-50-3-3 provides that those convicted of a Class B misdemeanor may be punished with jail time not more than 180 days and a fine not exceeding $1,000.

However, a police officer making an arrest for public intoxication is provided with a list of options as to what he or she may do. Under Ind. Code § 12-23-15-1, the officer may:

  • Take the intoxicated person into custody for criminal processing in the city lock-up or county jail, if the person is unmanageable or is causing damage to himself or herself or others;
  • Issue a citation, if the intoxicated person is manageable and is not causing damage, and take the person to his or her home, to the home of a relative, or to a responsible person who is competent and willing to provide care, assistance, and treatment. Alternatively, the officer may take the individual to an approved public or private treatment facility or to the city lock-up or county jail if no facility is available.

Public Place or Place of Public Resort

While Indiana statute does not define what constitutes a “public place” or “place of public resort,” several cases from Indiana’s court of appeals have stated that a public place does not have to be a place that is solely devoted to public use. It may be any place, regardless of ownership, that is visited by many persons that is usually accessible to the neighboring public. Thus, there are certain private properties or business establishments that are open to the public. For example, in one case, an individual’s conviction for public intoxication was upheld even though he was inside of a vehicle parked by the sidewalk in an apartment complex. In another case, another conviction for this offense was upheld even though the individual was found intoxicated inside a hotel hallway. If you find yourself being charged with public intoxication, it is in your best interest to speak with an Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer well-versed in local public intoxication laws.

Consult an Indianapolis Public Intoxication Lawyer Today

Eskew Law can review your case and help you craft an effective defense if you are facing a public intoxication charge. Please call us at (317) 974-0177 or submit our online consultation request form. Enlisting the help of an aggressive public intoxication attorney in Indianapolis, IN as early as possible will help you in getting a positive outcome to your case.

Next Steps

1. Consultation Meet with the attorney to discuss your legal issue. This initial meeting helps you understand their expertise and decide if they're the right fit.
2. Agreement Review and sign a retainer agreement. This contract outlines the services, fees, and other essential terms.
3. Documents Gather and provide all relevant documents related to your case. This step helps your attorney build your case efficiently.
4. Communication Set expectations for how and when you'll communicate with your attorney. Clear communication ensures that you stay informed throughout the process.

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