Written by attorney Bradley Lynn Banks

An Overview of Indiana's Alcohol Related Offenses

Possessing, Using, or Furnishing a Fake ID: If you possess or use a fake ID then it is an infraction and you can be subjected to a fine and in some instances a license suspension. For those trying to profit off of kids buying fake ID’s, they are facing a Class C misdemeanor, this carries a penalty of up to 60 days jail plus a fine.

MinorPossession, Consumption or Transportation of Alcohol: These are the most commonly charged crimes against minors for alcohol. If you are under the age of 21 it is illegal for you to drink, possess or transport alcohol(unless you have a parent/guardian in the car with you). These crimes are all Class C misdemeanors.

Public Intoxication: This law applies to adults and minors alike. This is likely the most common alcohol charge for adults. Previously in Indiana you violated this law if you were intoxicated in a public place. Recognizing that numerous public places serve alcohol, the legislature amended the statute to reflect a more common sense approach. Now, in addition to being intoxicated and in a public place, you must also do one of the following: (1) endanger your life; (2) endanger the life of another person;(3) breach the peace or (4) harass, annoy or alarm another person. So, in essence, in addition to being drunk in public you must also be engaging in some other type of unruly behavior. This crime is a Class B misdemeanor.

Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated: There are several crimes that fall under this general title. Operating While Intoxicated or with a BAC of .08 to .14 are C misdemeanors and require either driving while drunk or driving with a BAC between .08 to .14. Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Endangering a Person or with a BAC .15 or higher is a Class A Misdemeanor. This is drunk driving in such a manner that someone is endangered or driving with a BAC greater than .15. The other two types of drunk driving are if it results in serious bodily injury or death. Depending on the circumstances these two crimes can range from a Class D Felony to a Class B Felony. Lastly, for a minor, if you are at a .02 but below a .08 it is an infraction to be driving a vehicle.

Minor in a Tavern: If you are under 21 and in a bar, liquor store or other place minors are not allowed it is a Class C misdemeanor.

Open Container Law: If you are on a road trip and you’re driving and your buddies in the back are imbibing a few adult beverages, you are breaking the law. However, a violation of the Indiana Open Container Law is only a class C infraction.

Maintaining or Visiting a Common Nuisance: If you own a home, vehicle or apartment where alcohol laws are regularly being broken, you could be charged with a D Felony known as Maintaining a Common Nuisance. If you are just visiting this type of place, you could be charged for visiting a common nuisance which is a class B misdemeanor. This law is used many times to shut down illegal gambling or alcohol venues.

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