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What can you do about a public intoxication charge?

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2019 | Criminal Law

A public intoxication charge may not seem like a big deal. After all, many people have a little too much to drink on occasion. However, a public intoxication charge is treated as a serious offense in Indiana.

You are charged with public intoxication when you consume alcohol or drugs in public, and you:

  • Endanger your own life
  • Endanger someone else’s life
  • Disrupt the peace or threaten to
  • Harass or bother others

If convicted, you may have to spend up to 180 days in jail and pay a fine of up to $1,000. It is also charged as a misdemeanor, so being found guilty means you have a misdemeanor conviction on your record.

However, you have the legal right to a defense against these charges. Here are some possible defenses against a public intoxication charge.

You were not drunk

One defense is to claim you were not intoxicated. However, making an unsupported claim will not get you far with a judge. You need evidence, like results from a BAC test or a receipt from the bartender showing you only bought two drinks.

You were not disrupting the peace

You cannot claim you were not disrupting the peace without substantiation. You will likely need witnesses or video to back up your side of the story.

You were not in a public place

This may seem like a no-brainer. However, depending on the circumstances, you might not have been drinking in a public place, but were forced into one when you were arrested. Maybe a police officer asked you to come outside and then arrested you. Again, you need evidence to support your version of the story.

A public intoxication arrest is embarrassing, but it can also have a serious impact on your future. Your arrest may not have been warranted, or the police officer’s evidence could be lacking. You can defend yourself and may be able to minimize the penalties you face.