Many people get arrested for the crime of public intoxication in Indiana in relatively private areas near an apartment building or home. The public intoxication laws in Indiana make it a crime to be in a public place, in a state of intoxication caused by the use of alcohol or drugs. In Tippecanoe County, Purdue students are frequently arrested and charged with public intoxication when they are in the vicinity of campus apartments or homes. If you are charged under the public intoxication laws in Indiana, you may have a valid defense at trial that you were not in a public place.
The Indiana Court of Appeals has issued several recent opinions dealing with the public intoxication laws in Indiana that protect the right to privacy. In Christian v. State, the Defendant was observed by police in a driveway between her friend’s house and a neighbor’s residence. She was confused about her location and disheveled. The police officer described the driveway as an “area that people in the neighboring area use to park” and an “area used by the public to park perpendicular” to a public street. The defendant admitted to being intoxicated. The Court of Appeals reversed her conviction and held that there was insufficient evidence that the defendant was in a public place. The Court further stated that under the public intoxication laws in Indiana, an intoxicated person must be in an area used by the public in general rather than only the residences next to the area.
The Court of Appeals also reversed a conviction for public intoxication for a man arrested in an area off the porch of a private residence. In Haynes v. State, the defendant stood screaming and yelling on the front porch of a private residence. A police officer on the sidewalk ordered the defendant off the porch. The defendant walked off the porch to within two or three feet of the sidewalk, where the officer made observations of intoxication. He then arrested the defendant for public intoxication. The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed his ultimate conviction for public intoxication and found that there was no evidence that the area “off” the porch was a public area. In contrast the Court of Appeals has upheld convictions for public intoxication where the arrest was made in the common area of an apartment complex openly accessible to the public.
These fact patterns are common in charges of public intoxication on the Purdue campus in West Lafayette, Indiana. Each case is fact specific. If you are charged with public intoxication in Indiana, it is important to obtain an attorney immediately to evaluate a defense that you were not in a public place under the public intoxication laws in Indiana.
Many people appear in Indiana courts without a lawyer and plead guilty, or accept diversion agreements, when they had a valid defense to a charge of public intoxication. This happens frequently when Purdue students are charged with public intoxication. Criminal convictions cannot be expunged in Indiana.
You should never appear in Court without a lawyer. Laws change frequently and defenses to charges in a criminal case are fact specific. If you are charged under the public intoxication laws in Indiana, you may have a valid defense that you were not in a public place.