What You Need To Know Before a Night Out

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

Sometimes, you just get tired of drinking in bars and want to take a stroll with a beer in hand. If you can relate, great news: in Indiana, there is no law prohibiting you from openly carrying and drinking alcohol in public and on sidewalks. There is a law against public intoxication, however. Here is what you need to know.


What is Public Intoxication?

Public intoxication does not just mean being intoxicated in a public place. It specifically refers to being intoxicated in a public place AND creating a disturbance that (1) endangers your life or someone else’s life, (2) breaches—or threatens to breach—the peace, or (3) annoys and alarms other people. Thus, in Indiana, it is not illegal to carry and consume alcohol—and even be intoxicated—in public as long as you are not creating the said disturbances.


One additional information to note is that you can be charged with public intoxication even when you are not in a place solely devoted for public use. A “public place” within the context of the applicable law may also be a place, regardless of ownership, that is frequented by many people and is accessible to the neighboring public. For example, being intoxicated and creating disturbance from within your car can constitute as public intoxication.


What are the Consequences of Public Intoxication?

What happens to you upon arrest depends on how intoxicated you are. If you are deemed manageable, police officers will usually issue you a citation and take you home. If you are deemed unmanageable, officers will usually take you into custody in the city or county jail.


Afterward, you will most likely be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. You might even be charged with a felony in certain situations, such as when you create disturbance at a location with heightened security (e.g. airport) or during a solemn event (e.g. funeral).


If you have read our previous blogs, you know the life-changing impact a misdemeanor conviction can have on your future. If you were arrested for public intoxication and would like guidance and representation, contact us at any time at 317-643-1813.

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