In Indiana, public intoxication (commonly called “drunk and disorderly”) is defined in state law under specific conditions. There are three elements to the crime of public intoxication: That the defendant was intoxicated, that the defendant endangered the person or property of another, and the defendant acted in a manner that annoyed or disturbed another person.

The first element–that the defendant was intoxicated–has two prongs. The first prong is that the defendant must have consumed an alcoholic beverage, controlled substance, or other drugs. The second prong is that as a result of said consumption, the defendant’s mental or physical faculties were adversely affected to a noticeable or substantial degree.

The second element requires that the defendant endangered the person or property of another. This means that the defendant’s intoxication must have placed another person in danger of bodily injury. Fighting and other violent acts usually define said element.

The third element requires that the defendant acted in a manner that annoyed or disturbed another person. This means that the intoxicated person must have behaved in a way that would have been annoying or disturbing to a reasonable person or the public. Merely being intoxicated in public is not enough to satisfy this element. In the case of public intoxication, law enforcement agents have the option of arresting a person or issuing a citation and transporting him or her home or to a safe location.

What are the Penalties for Public Intoxication?

Public intoxication is a Class B misdemeanor in Indiana. The maximum penalty for a class B misdemeanor is 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. In addition to the potential jail time and fines, a conviction for public intoxication will go on your criminal record. A criminal record can make it difficult to find a job, housing, or get into school.

Can a Lawyer Defend My Public Intoxication Charge?

A lawyer may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether. Some defenses to public intoxication include:

  • That the defendant was not intoxicated
  • That the defendant did not endanger the person or property of another
  • That the defendant did not act in a manner that annoyed or disturbed another person

Having the assistance of a seasoned lawyer from our firm can make all the difference in your case.

What Should I Look for in a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

When you are looking for a criminal defense lawyer, you should look for someone who has experience in the area of law that pertains to your case. You should also look for a lawyer who is communicative and easy to work with. Most importantly, you should feel comfortable with your lawyer and be able to trust them with your case. Our firm has lawyers with all of these qualities and can help you with your public intoxication charge. Call us today at (317) 623-4546 to schedule a consultation.