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A Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Guide to Purdue's Grand Prix Weekend

Purdue’s Grand Prix week is filled with fun activities but is often crawling with undercover excise police. The past two years more than 90 arrests were made during Grand Prix festivities. While local law enforcement emphasizes the goal of keeping everyone safe, excise police come to West Lafayette utilizing undercover stings and seeking high-volume arrests. So, can students party and still avoid jail? Taking proper precautions and knowing your legal rights is key to having a fun weekend while avoiding the Tippecanoe County Jail.

Going on a Beer Run? Watch Out For Excise Police and Bring Proper ID

Gearing up for Purdue’s Grand Prix weekend often requires a beer run. However, if you are under 21 years of age, don’t drive your roommates or fraternity brothers to the liquor store. In Indiana, it is a crime for minors to transport alcohol on a public highway if they are not accompanied by a parent or guardian. Most people do not know this is a crime.

During Grand Prix weekend, excise police often set up an undercover sting at liquor stores. They wait in the parking lot for unsuspecting Purdue students. When a driver waits in the car while a passenger goes inside to purchase alcohol, excise police initiate a traffic stop as soon as the alcohol is in the vehicle and the car is in gear. They then cite the driver for minor transportation of alcohol and the passenger for inducing a minor to possess alcohol. This whole situation can be avoided easily. Don’t ask a friend who is under 21 to drive for a beer run. It could result in both of you being charged.

Had a Few Too Many? Stay Cool if You Have a Police Encounter

If you have been drinking and encounter police, stay cool and be respectful. As long as you are 21, it is no longer a crime in Indiana to be drunk in public unless you endanger someone’s life or harass or annoy another person. Thus, if you are intoxicated and can compose yourself, there will not be evidence to support a public intoxication conviction.

Remember Driver’s Education? Check your Tail Lights and License Plate Light

Many Purdue students secure a sober designated driver so that they can safely drink during Grand Prix weekend. However, having a sober driver does not guarantee you will avoid contact with police. With excise police in town, law enforcement is seeking reasons to pull cars over. It is illegal for police to stop a vehicle without probable cause of an infraction or criminal act. However, if a car has a tail light or license plate light out, it is an easy target for a police stop. This can often lead to a claim that the officer smells alcohol or marijuana and a round of breath tests or a canine search.

Lafayette Criminal Defense Attorneys: Know Your Rights Grand Prix Weekend

Gibson Law Office has represented Purdue students for 16 years. Grand Prix weekend has historically been filled with high-volume arrests. You can avoid trouble by understanding your legal rights and taking reasonable precautions ahead of time. If you do get in trouble, call our office for a free consultation. We have represented hundreds of Purdue students and understand the unique circumstance of simultaneously defending a criminal case and a Purdue disciplinary action. If you get arrested, call Gibson Law Office for a free consultation. Contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney early in a case can make a big impact on the outcome.