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Walking down sidewalk while drunk does not meet new conditions for public intox, COA rules

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Four criteria added to the state’s public intoxication statute in 2012 presented the Indiana Court of Appeals with a question of first impression when it considered a man’s arrest for being drunk in a public place.

David Holbert was stopped by police after a neighbor observed his suspicious behavior and called 9-1-1. Officers discovered a baggie of marijuana and noted his eyes were glassy and bloodshot, he smelled of alcohol, his speech was slow and slurred, and he walked unsteadily.

Subsequently, the state charged Holbert with possession of marijuana, as a Class A misdemeanor, and public intoxication, as a Class B misdemeanor.  

Holbert argued the state failed to present sufficient evidence to support his conviction for public intoxication. In 2012, the Indiana General Assembly amended the public intoxication statute, Indiana Code 7.1-5-1-3, by adding four conditions that clarify when drunkenness becomes a Class B misdemeanor.

These criteria are the endangerment of the individual’s life; the endangerment of the life of another person; breaching the peace or in imminent danger of breaching the peace; or harassing, annoying or alarming another person.

Holbert asserted he did not meet any of the four criteria while in a public place and therefore could not be convicted of public intoxication.

The Court of Appeals agreed. In David Holbert v. State of Indiana, 49A05-1302-CR-54, the court reversed Holbert’s conviction, finding no evidence that he engaged in any of the four listed criteria.
 

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  1. He did not have an "unlicensed handgun" in his pocket. Firearms are not licensed in Indiana. He apparently possessed a handgun without a license to carry, but it's not the handgun that is licensed (or registered).

  2. Once again, Indiana's legislature proves how friendly it is to monopolies. This latest bill by Hershman demonstrates the lengths Indiana's representatives are willing to go to put big business's (especially utilities') interests above those of everyday working people. Maassal argues that if the technology (solar) is so good, it will be able to compete on its own. Too bad he doesn't feel the same way about the industries he represents. Instead, he wants to cut the small credit consumers get for using solar in order to "add a 'level of certainty'" to his industry. I haven't heard of or seen such a blatant money-grab by an industry since the days when our federal, state, and local governments were run by the railroad. Senator Hershman's constituents should remember this bill the next time he runs for office, and they should penalize him accordingly.

  3. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  4. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  5. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

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