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Published in Criminal Law on October 2, 2015.

Celebrating at the Indianapolis 500

Everyone knows how important the Indianapolis 500 Race is to people all over the world.  Since its beginnings in 1909, the race has annually presented fans with opportunities to celebrate.  In fact, during the weeks leading up to the race, the city prepares for the crowds of people that flock to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, infield, and “Snake Pit” for musical performances, camping, the race itself, and drinking.  Unfortunately, for many of those who attend the race, too much celebrating has led to cases for Public Intoxication.

Until recently, it was illegal to be in a public place in a state of intoxication.  That law was recently changed to require that a person to be in a public place in a state of intoxication caused by the person’s use of alcohol if the person endangered his own life or the life of another; breached the peace; or harassed, annoyed, or alarmed another person.  However, the last part of this section of the Indiana Code was recently held unconstitutional due to its vagueness.  More specifically, the statute failed to provide notice enabling ordinary people to understand the conduct that it prohibited and authorized arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.

This change in the Code will likely lead to a decrease in the number of arrests made this year at the Indianapolis 500 Race because the statute now requires that a person do something more than be annoying to be ticketed or arrested.  Instead, in order for someone to pick up a case for Public Intoxication at the Motor Speedway, he must have endangered the life of a person or breached the peace in some way.

Regardless, it is important to drink responsibly.  As long as you behave courteously and respectfully at the race while drinking, you shouldn’t have any problems.


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