Police Worry About Perception Of Public Intoxication Law

The Bloomington Police Department says people need to be educated about a bill the governor signed loosening public intoxication laws.

A bill has been signed into law that loosens the rules on public intoxication.Under the new law individuals can no longer be convicted of public intoxication unless they are creating a disturbance or are posing a danger to others or themselves.

IU student Amy Teige says she thinks more students will now choose to walk home instead of driving drunk.

“There are a lot of times I think people would get drunk and then be afraid of going outside because they wouldn’t want to get the public intox,” she says.

The Bloomington Police Department Captain Joseph Qualters says there won’t be much change in his department because officers typically charge people for public intoxication only if they are disturbing others.

“I’m not sure that there’s going to be a significant impact on how we do business currently,” he says. “Again, as I explained it’s never been a numbers game, we don’t go out and make a public intoxication arrest simply because we want to make an arrest.”

Qualters says with the new rules in place, students may not understand the limits of the law.

“What I think is clear is that there needs to be education on the statute itself,” he says. “And I think that people need to be educated on the components of the statute.”

He says if there is a threat, police are still liable to take action and make and arrest if necessary.

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