Arrested at the Indianapolis 500?

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Arrested at the Indianapolis 500? Now What?

The Indianapolis 500, or what is often billed as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, is typically set on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend each year. Between the permanent seating around the track and the infield areas, there are about 300,000 people that flood the gates of the speedway each year. With that many people together in a confined area, on a holiday weekend, and probably fueled by alcohol or other substances, we field tons of calls shortly after (or sometimes during) the race. For someone who is unfamiliar with the criminal process, here are the basics of what you will need to know.

WHAT: Some of the most commonly charged crimes at these types of events include the following:

  1. Minor Consumption/Illegal Possession – Class C Misdemeanor
  2. Public Intoxication – Class B Misdemeanor
  3. Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor – Class A Misdemeanor, or Level 5 Felony (Most commonly charged when alcohol is furnished to a minor, it is a felony if the furnished alcohol is the proximate cause of the death of any person)
  4. Possession of Marijuana – Class B or A Misdemeanor, or Level 6 Felony (Depends on weight and past criminal history)
  5. Possession of Cocaine or Narcotic Drug – Level 6, 5, 4, or 3 Felony (Depends on weight)
  6. Possession of a Controlled Substance – Class A Misdemeanor or Level 6 Felony
  7. Possession of Paraphernalia – Class C or A Misdemeanor (Depends on past criminal history)
  8. Battery – Class B or A Misdemeanor, or Level 6, 5, 4, 3, or 2 Felony(Depends or severity past criminal history and who the alleged victim was)
  9. Criminal Mischief – Class B or A Misdemeanor, or Level 6 Felony (Depends on the value of property damaged)
  10. Criminal Recklessness – Class B Misdemeanor, or Level 6 or 5 Felony (Depends on injury and instrument used, if any)

These are the most common types of cases we see shortly after the race. Briefly, here are the penalty ranges individuals are looking at if charged with these crimes:


Felony Level Sentence Range (min. – adv. – max.)
Murder 45 – 55 – 65
Level 1 20 – 30 – 40
Level 2 10 – 17.5 – 30
Level 3 3 – 9 – 16
Level 4 2 – 6 – 12
Level 5 1 – 3 – 6
Level 6 0.5 – 1 – 2.5

A Misdemeanor                                           0 – N/A – 365 days

B Misdemeanor                                           0 – N/A – 180 days

C Misdemeanor                                           0 – N/A – 60 days

WHO: There are many different agencies involved with the criminal process. The police departments who most likely will be on duty the day of the race are the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Indiana State Excise Police, Speedway Police Department, or the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.

WHERE: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is located in Speedway, Indiana which falls under the jurisdiction of the Marion County courts. If you get charged with a crime at the race, your case will most likely be handled at the Indianapolis City-County Building which is located at 200 E. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204. There are about 25 criminal courts in Marion County, other than traffic tickets and city court cases, the rest of the criminal cases will be held at this location. Most often, a case will be set for an initial hearing first. Although each case varies, initial hearings are frequently set in court 11 which is located in the basement of the city-county building. After the initial hearing, the rest of the case precedes in the courtroom where the case is filed. To see if you have a case filed against you, when your next hearing date is, or to see what courtroom your case is in, go to

WHEN: Since it is usually one of the busiest times of the year for us around this time, it is undoubtedly one of the busiest times for the criminal justice system as a whole. For lower level offenses, instead of arresting someone, police officers have the discretion to just write an individual a ticket with a future court date. With these types of tickets, we often talk to individuals who know they were given a ticket and told they would receive a mailing with their future court date. Then weeks if not months go by and the individual still has not received the mail or seen that a case is filed. So what gives?

HOW: So you got a ticket, what happens next? Typically the officer will compile all of tickets they wrote that day, write their case reports explaining what their viewpoint of the events that occurred was, recommend what charges should be filed, and then they will submit the file to a screener. A screener is a prosecutor with the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office who reviews the police reports and decides what charges to officially file with the court. Because they represent the office that would actually have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the alleged offense occurred, they typically are more selective with what charges are officially filed. Because these screeners are reviewing every single police report that is recommended for charges in Marion County, they are likely overwhelmed with the sheer amount of reports they get. Therefore, it could take weeks for a case to be officially filed for you. For misdemeanors, the prosecutor’s office has up to two years from the date the offense was alleged to be committed. For felonies, there are a number of variances in the time allotted but in most cases the prosecutor’s office has up to five years from the date of the offense to file.

All of that said, the Indy 500 is a blast to attend. If you find yourself having a little bit too much fun this weekend and need some help, give one of the criminal attorneys at Banks & Brower a call for a free consultation. We are available 24/7/365 at (317) 870-0019 and