Have you been charged with Public Intoxication in Indiana?
Have you ever heard of somebody being arrested for being “drunk and disorderly”? Public intoxication is a crime in Indiana. For you to be convicted of public intoxication, the state must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you were:
- In a public place or a place of public resort
- In a state of intoxication caused by your use of alcohol or a controlled substance
- And that you endangered your own life, the life of another, breached or threatened to breach the peace or harasses, annoys or alarms another person.
This is a lot to have to prove. Although this is a relatively minor crime in Indiana (a class B misdemeanor), and your chance of spending time in jail if convicted is not high, you might be able to get a better result with lawyers who fight these minor charges and are willing to take cases like this to jury trial.
A teacher who hired us found himself faced with this decision. He opted for trial by jury in a case where two Indianapolis police officers testified our client was outside a restaurant downtown (a public place) while intoxicated (both officers told the 6-member jury our client was legally intoxicated). But there was no evidence to support their claim of intoxication. However, before the jury even got to deliberate, the judge threw the case out because she was unconvinced the state had met its burden of proving our client had breached the peace.
The Board Certified* Indiana defense lawyers with The Criminal Defense Team can help you. Contact us at (317) 565-2221 to learn more.
Awards & Affiliations
A public intoxication charge is a criminal offense in Indiana, punishable by fines and possible jail time. Though you’re certainly allowed to defend yourself in court, not hiring an attorney to assist you would practically guarantee a conviction and may end up costing you significant amounts of money in court costs and fines.
A good defense attorney can do more than stand next to you in court. Our experience with public intoxication offenses and knowledge of relevant case law can make the entire ordeal easier for you. We will not judge you for your arrest. We can help explain what options you have to avoid a conviction, help you avoid incriminating yourself, and protect your rights from prosecutors that seek to take advantage of you.
When you hire our firm to represent you, you don’t just get the help of one attorney. You get the assistance of an entire team of investigators, researchers, and legal professionals that want to help you avoid a conviction. This is vital, as the prosecutor will also have a team of law enforcement officers, advocates, and professional witnesses that all want a judge or jury to rule against you.
Prosecutors and law enforcement officials will often try to force a guilty plea from an individual to move the process along. They may try to convince you that pleading guilty is your only option, even if you’re confident you didn’t commit a crime. A good defense attorney will tell you that a guilty plea is almost never a good idea, as the consequences of pleading guilty can follow you for the rest of your life.
An arrest can leave you feeling embarrassed, fearful, anxious, distraught, or depressed. It’s an emotional experience, but your lawyer is one of the few people who actually understand what you’re going through. We’ve seen all types of arrests before, and we understand the strain you’re under. Hiring a lawyer from The Criminal Defense Team means letting our team lift the burden of building your defense off your shoulders, which will allow you the time to process the trauma of an arrest and get back to your life, confident that you’ve got someone in your corner.
Possible Defenses to a Public Intoxication Charge
Before the laws regarding public intoxication changed in Indiana in 2012, a public intoxication offense was used as something of a catch-all for arresting someone that may not have been committing a crime. The previous version of the law did not have the provisions described above. It only required that a person be intoxicated in public. This meant that anyone could be arrested for being intoxicated, even if they weren’t harming anyone or attempting to operate a motor vehicle. An intoxicated passenger in a car could be arrested even if the driver was sober.
Under the new provisions, a person can only be convicted if the prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the offender was endangering themselves or others, breaching the peace, or harassing or annoying someone else. This allows us to craft several defensive strategies for our clients accused of public intoxication, such as:
- Not intoxicated at the time. The burden of proof is on the prosecution to show that you were intoxicated at the time of the arrest. Sworn testimony may not be enough to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, and we can use this in your defense.
- Not endangering others or disturbing the peace. Again, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to show that you violated the text of the law. In most cases, it’s up to the law enforcement officer performing the arrest to determine whether your actions constitute a breach of the peace. If we can sow doubt about this determination or show evidence to the contrary, we may avoid a conviction.
- Not intoxicated in a public place. The law requires that the actions leading up to the arrest are in a public place or place of public resort. If we can show that you were on private property, we may be able to avoid a conviction.
- Under the influence of medication. Another possible defense is that you were under the influence of legally prescribed medication that unduly influenced your behavior at the time of the arrest. If we can prove that the medication you took can cause the behavior that led to the arrest, we may be able to help you avoid a conviction on your record.
- Lifeline Law. Indiana has a law protecting certain intoxicated people from prosecution if we can show that you were reporting a medical emergency, were the victim of a sexual assault, or were reporting what you believed to be a crime.
Penalties for Public Intoxication in Indiana
Public intoxication is considered a Class B misdemeanor in Indiana and carries a fine of up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to 180 days.
Steps to Take After a Public Intoxication Arrest
Law enforcement officers in Indiana are required to follow a procedure during a public intoxication arrest to determine the proper course of action. Depending on how intoxicated the person is at the time of arrest, they have several options available. If you’re caught drunk and disturbing the peace or harming someone they will likely take you to jail, but if you’re not harming anyone or yourself, they may decide to issue a citation. They’re even allowed to take you home if they deem it the best course of action.
If you’ve just been arrested for public intoxication, here are some steps to take to protect your rights and avoid incriminating yourself:
- Remain calm. You will gain nothing by antagonizing or threatening the law enforcement officers arresting you. Aggressive behavior can only hurt your chances of avoiding a conviction. Keep calm and know that you will have your day in court.
- Remember the details. As soon as possible, write down everything that happened before and after the arrest. Note any specific or unusual circumstances or any witnesses that may be able to help confirm your whereabouts or state of mind, and take special note of the actions of the officers arresting you. Try to remember anything that appears suspicious or out of place.
- Keep quiet. Anything you say can be used against you in court, so it’s best to avoid speaking to law enforcement without your attorney present.
- Keep any paperwork. If you’re ticketed, keep the ticket. If you’re arrested, ask for an arrest record. Any documentation will be invaluable to your attorney later on.
- Get legal representation. You shouldn’t try to fight a public intoxication charge on your own. Retain legal counsel as soon as possible.
Public Intoxication Statistics
Here are some statistics and information regarding the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption in Indiana and elsewhere:
- 8 percent of people ages 18 and up nationwide reported binge drinking in the last month in 2019.
- Excessive alcohol consumption is expensive. The CDC reports that it cost the country almost $250 billion in 2010, about $807 per person.
- Excessive alcohol consumption cost Indiana over $4.4 billion in 2010.
- On average, two in three Americans will be involved in a drunk driving crash at least once in their lifetime.
- There were 3,261 arrests for drunkenness in Indiana in 2018.
- There were 227 fatalities involving alcohol-impaired drivers in Indiana in 2018.
Simply put, The Criminal Defense Team is one of the best criminal defense firms in Indiana. We provide compassionate, aggressive, and zealous legal representation to clients all over Indiana for a wide variety of offenses, and we’re very skilled at what we do.
How skilled? Out of the more than 15,000 practicing attorneys in the state, only six have been declared to be Board Certified Criminal Law Specialists by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Certification requires extensive trial experience and competence and is a lengthy and grueling process.
Of those six Certified Criminal Law Specialists, five work for The Criminal Defense Team. We are quite literally experts in this field, and we have the credentials to prove it.
It doesn’t end there. We also have three former prosecutors on staff. This gives us a distinct advantage when formulating defensive strategies for our clients, as we can see each case from both a defender’s and a prosecutor’s point of view. It also means our team will likely be acquainted with the lawyer prosecuting your case, which can make negotiations for plea deals or lower charges go more smoothly.
Our extensive expertise, highly skilled staff, and over 120 years of combined legal experience give us the edge when defending you from a public intoxication charge. If you’d like to hear from some of our satisfied past clients, head to our Testimonials page.
If you’re ready to fight your public intoxication charge, the tenacious team of legal professionals at The Criminal Defense Team is waiting for your call. Don’t wait any longer to get the legal help you deserve. Call (317) 565-2221 today and let us review your case. The consultation is absolutely free, and we will advise you about all the legal options available to you, regardless of whether you choose us to represent you or not. Don’t let a public intoxication charge throw your life off track. Call The Criminal Defense Team today.