Redefining Intoxication? Indiana Legislature looking to a new definition

Updating my earlier blog entry about the Indiana Supreme Court's decision in Moore v. State. In the Moore case, the Indiana Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a passenger for Public Intoxication. Currently, Public Intoxication, a Class B Misdemeanor is defined by Indiana Code 7.1-5-1-3. The statute 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." A strict reading of the statute means it would be a crime to be intoxicated in a bar, at a sporting event or in the passenger's seat of a car.

Fortunately, according to an article by Sophia Voravong of the Lafayette Journal Courier, the Indiana Legislature may be looking at redefining intoxication. Two bills currently being worked on in the Indiana Senate (Senate Bills 94 and 97) would clarify what constitutes public intoxication. These bills would limit the crime of Public Intoxication to those who are under the influcent of drugs or controlled substanceds and are disturbing the peace or are in danger of hurting themselves. An additional Bill exempting passengers from being charged with Public Intoxication could also be voted on.

Hopefully, some revision in the definition of Public Intoxication will pass through the Indiana Legislature this session.

If you have questions about Public Intoxication, Drunk Driving (DUI/OWI) or other criminal law matters, contact Gregory A. Miller, a Fort Wayne Criminal Defense Lawyer, at (260) 833-7249.