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Public Intoxication - It's not safe to use a designated driver anymore

Just imagine, a friend or family member (we'll call him John) is out celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, or a promotion. John has a few adult beverages to celebrate. But, he does the right thing. He doesn't want to be arrested for drunk driving ( i.e. DUI/OWI), so he does the responsible thing, he has a sober friend drive him home. John didn't get behind the wheel, he used a designated driver.

For years, we have been told to use designated drivers. We've been taught that buzzed driving is drunk driving (i.e. a DUI/OWI). But what John didn't realize was that by just getting into the car after drinking he would be commiting a crime. Yes, John committed the offense of Public Intoxication.

Recently, the Indiana Supreme Court , in Moore v. State, held that a passenger CAN be arrested for Public Intoxication, a Class B Misdemeanor. Indiana Code 7.1-5-1-3 states that it is a Class B Misdemeanor "for a person to be in a public place or place of public resort in a state of intoxication caused by the person's use of alcohol or a controlled substance."

It strikes me as inherently unfair that a person can choose not to commit a DUI/OWI by using a designated driver, yet can still be charged with Public Intoxication, a Misdemeanor.

If you, or a friend like John, has been charged with DUI/OWI, Public Intoxication or another Misdemeanor Crime, contact a Fort Wayne Criminal Defense Lawyer today.