A New Years Resolution You Didn’t Expect
It never fails…the first day of the New Year is always a busy day for our phones at the Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys of Banks & Brower, LLC. While many people are setting their sights on healthy New Year’s Goals like losing weight, being patient, drinking less often, being kinder…blah blah blah, inevitably, many others are testing their vices…drinking to access, partying to access, and engaging in behavior they might regret the following day. After all, that New Year’s Resolution can wait until Monday, right? Why not go out with the proverbial bang?
Unfortunately, this revelry leads to bad decisions, which all too often leads to police being involved, which ultimately leads to arrests. And, when you are arrested over the holidays, especially thoughts around weekends, party-goers can find themselves sitting in custody longer than usual. Why? Because judges and prosecutors are real people, too. Because of that, they are often on vacation, leaving no judge to process the mass of people in the jails. That makes for a very busy Monday after a holiday — thus the numerous calls to our office.
But what are the 5 most common arrests during the New Year’s Holiday? We will take a look at them in this blog. Without further delay, our own “countdown” begins…
#5 – Trespass
95% of the time Criminal Trespass involves an individual who has had one to many too drink and refuses to leave an establishment that stubbornly refuses to let them stay and continue to drink, party, or hang out. So long as the owner of a property (i.e. a bar, restaurant, or other establishment) no longer wants you present, and they ask you to leave, and you then refuse to do so, you can find yourself charged with a Class A Misdemeanor. Indiana statute has many occasions for when Criminal Trespass can be filed, but this is the most common. One other common example includes when you are denied entry to a place or property but enter anyways (i.e. ignoring no trespassing signs). While this may seem trivial, an A Misdemeanor carries with it a penalty of up to a year in jail!
As I write this blog, I just received a call on a Battery at a New Year’s party (yep, they are that common). Battery is often charged regardless of who started the fight…especially during a holiday arrest. In fact, police will arrest all parties involved, regardless of injuries, and they will let the prosecutor’s office figure it out later. Battery is commonly charged as an A Misdemeanor if pain, swelling, redness, bruising, and/or swelling exists. It can be charged as a B Misdemeanor (0-180 day sentence) only if injury is not present, however. Domestic Battery is also a common charge during the holiday season. If it is a first time domestic violence arrest, it is often an A Misdemeanor so long as children aren’t present. It’s a Level 6 felony (a penalty of 180 days to 2.5 years) if children less than 14 are present and/or if the person has a prior domestic related conviction. Regular battery can also be charged as higher level felonies if deadly weapons are used or if serious bodily injury is present as well.
#3 – Disorderly Conduct
Disorderly conduct is pretty self-explanatory…it’s the catch all arrest. However, you usually have to be acting really foolish to be charged with it. Typically, disorderly conduct is charged when someone is engaging in “fighting,” “tumultuous conduct” or “interferes in an investigation” that police are conducting. “Tumultuous conduct” is any behavior that is likely to lead to serious bodily injury. The most common arrest for disorderly conduct occurs when someone has had one too many drinks and interferes with the police while they are investigating some other person who found themselves in trouble. That’s why it’s always best to avoid the police when they are arresting someone else…they are just looking to arrest others for running their mouths or who are acting out of line. They fear being outnumbered, and as such, they tend to overreact even by behavior that may objectively seem harmless. Disorderly conduct is a Class B Misdemeanor in Indiana.
#2 – Public Intoxication
Public intoxication is easily one of the highest charged offenses over New Years. Again, it’s another crime whose name says it all. It’s being intoxicated in public. However, a couple of years ago the legislature added certain other conditions in order to charge it. According to Indiana Code IC 35-48-1-9), if the person:
(1) endangers the person’s life;
(2) endangers the life of another person;
(3) breaches the peace or is in imminent danger of breaching the peace; or
(4) harasses, annoys, or alarms another person,
they can be charged with a Public Intoxication as a Class B Misdemeanor. The old adage is, if you are going to be drunk, be drunk in private…or as Ron White so eloquently said, “I had the right to remain silent, but I didn’t have the ability. The cop was like, “Mr. White, you are being charged with drunk in public-KA!” I was like, “Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey! I was drunk in a bar! They, threw me into public-KA!””
#1 – Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated
Without question, DUI’s or Operating While Intoxicated (hereinafter “OVWI”) charges go up ten-fold in Indiana over the holidays, and more specifically, New Years. Statistics show that New Years is one of the highest DUI-causing events throughout any given year. As such, DUI Task Forces are out in full force and often times DUI checkpoints are strategically placed around town to catch those who choose to risk it. Indiana has three main OVWI charges: (1) Operating While Intoxicated with Endangerment (a Class A Misdemeanor) or without Endangerment (a Class C Misdemeanor (0-60 days in jail)), (2) Operating While Intoxicated with a BAC of .08 to .15 (a Class C Misdemeanor) or above a .15 (a Class A Misdemeanor), or (3) Operating a Vehicle with a Metabolite (with drugs in your system) – a Class C Misdemeanor. Most DUI’s are misdemeanors, but they can be Level 6 felonies if the person has a prior DUI within 5 years, has a minor in the car, or causes serious bodily injury to another. If circumstances are more dire, they can be charged as higher level felonies as well.
While this list is not as entertaining than the real ball drop in Time Square, it at least provides an overview of the most common arrests over New Years. If you or a loved one are facing a criminal offense over the holidays (or any time of year), give the experienced Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys at Banks & Brower, LLC a call today. We are available 24-7 at 317-870-0019 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.