The public drunkenness arrest of the Colt's punter has generated enough publicity that people may be learning some things about public intoxication law they didn't know before:
It's not an uncommon scene for officers, but deciding who is simply intoxicated, and who presents a public problem can be tricky.
According to Indiana State Code, police can cite anyone for public intoxication if they are drunk in a setting in plain view of the public.
The laws on drunken driving are pretty precise: You're either below, at or above whatever the state's allowed BAC is. But for public intoxication, there is no objective standard (underline that in bold, all you would-be party animals). The legal challenges that come up usually involve the technical question of whether the drunk was on "private" or "public" property. Whether the miscreant in question has had too much to drink or is causing a problem because of that is pretty much left up to the arresting officer.
And though officers are supposed to issue a citation to anyone they think is "drunk in public," they do have discretion when it comes to putting someone in jail or taking him to his home or the home of relative or other "responsibile person." So there's another subjective judgment. This area is so loose when it comes to discretionary actions that it could be good (people getting cut some slack by a sympatheitc officer) or bad (using the law to get or harass someone just because it's