Overview of the Open Container Law in Indiana
There is no explicit open container law in Indiana; which means, generally, that individuals are permitted to carry alcoholic drinks in public and on sidewalks. However, it’s important for everyone to understand that the possession of alcohol in public could support probable cause for the criminal charge of public intoxication. In addition, there are drinking and alcohol laws in Indiana regarding open containers of alcohol in vehicles and possession of alcohol by minors that could apply to open container situations.
If you have questions about the open container law in Indiana, or have been charged with an alcohol-related offense, it would be best to call an experienced, skilled criminal defense attorney in Indiana, like those at Keffer Hirschauer LLP. Our managing partners are both former Fatal Alcohol Crash (FACT) prosecutors. This means they have a firm grasp on Indiana’s alcohol and intoxication laws, and are able to provide clients with dynamic and effective defense strategies aimed at securing the best possible outcome in the case at hand.
Indiana Law on Public Intoxication, Open Container in Vehicles and Possession of Alcohol by Minors
While there is no explicit open container law in Indiana, there are some circumstances under which a person could be charged with a crime while in possession of an open container. This may occur when a person is intoxicated in public or driving in vehicle with an open container. It may also occur when a person younger than 21 years of age, intoxicated or not, is found in possession of alcohol.
it is illegal to be intoxicated by alcohol in a public place if you are creating a disturbance that endangers your life or someone else’s life; breaches the peace or threatens to breach the peace, annoys, or alarms other people. In other words, while is not necessarily illegal to possess alcohol in public, drinking in public could lead to allegations of criminal behavior depending on the circumstances. Under Indiana Code 7.1-5-1-3, public intoxication is a Class B misdemeanor and is punishable with a fine up to $1,000 and, up to 180 days in jail.
Open Container in Vehicle
Under Indiana’s drinking and driving laws, it can be unlawful to possess open containers inside a vehicle. As outlined in Indiana Code 9-30-15-3, with limited exceptions, a person in a motor vehicle that is in operation or located on the right-of-way of a public highway who possesses a container of alcohol in the passenger compartment of the vehicle that has been opened, possesses a broken seal, or which has had contents removed, commits a Class C infraction in Indiana.
Possession of Alcohol by a Minor
Finally, regardless of intoxication, it is illegal for any person under the age of 21 to “knowingly possesses, consumes, or transports an alcoholic beverage.” Under Indiana Code 7.1-5-7-7, this offense is considered a Class C Misdemeanor and punishable by 0-60 days in prison and a fine of up to $500. On top of that, when a minor has been found to have consumed or transported alcohol the court can choose to suspend their driving privileges for up to one year.
Charged with an Alcohol-Related Crime in Indiana?
Have you been arrested for a DUI in Indiana? Charged with public intoxication or another offense under Indiana’s drinking laws? The Indiana criminal defense attorneys and drunk driving lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are available to help you. Our founding partners, Bradley Keffer and Tom Hirschauer III, are both former deputy prosecutors who know both sides of the criminal justice system; are well-acquainted with courts in Indianapolis and those across the state; and have deep experience in negotiation as well as inside the courtroom. This means they can provide the high-quality, dedicated criminal defense you need to minimize your potential criminal penalties and protect both your rights and your future. To speak with one of our criminal defense lawyers today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.