Indiana’s Enforcement of Alcohol Laws

Indiana's enforcement of alcohol laws

Whether you’ve lived in Indiana all of your life or are new to the state, it is important to familiarize yourself with the state and local laws concerning alcohol. Take a few minutes to check out this guide.

The Indiana State Excise Police is the law enforcement division of the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission (ATC). State excise police officers are empowered by statute to enforce the laws and rules of the ATC as well as the laws of the State of Indiana. Excise police target events and locations where violations of the alcohol and tobacco laws are likely to occur. College campuses and the neighborhoods and businesses that surround campuses are prime areas of enforcement.

The Indiana Lifeline Law reinforces the importance of calling for assistance when underage drinkers require medical assistance. Immunity from arrest and prosecution is provided to those underage who call for help in medical emergencies and in other circumstances. Become familiar with the Indiana Lifeline Law.

Common citations issued by Excise include:

  • Underage possession/consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Minors attempting to purchase alcohol
  • Providing alcohol to minors
  • Providing false information/possession of fake ID
  • Public nudity
  • Littering

A summons arrest is the likely outcome when Excise police encounter these violations. However, escalated intoxication, belligerent/uncooperative behavior, attempts to flee, etc. can result in arrest. Essentially, a summons is a promise to appear in court; it is given in lieu of being detained at the time of citation.

  • Excise officers normally work in pairs and will produce their badges and leave them out during an investigation.
  • If a student requests additional identification, they will produce a second form of identification, normally a photo ID card.
  • Further, they do not make random stops without probable cause. If a detained student asks that a University police officer be present, they will comply with your request.
  • University police officers are empowered to respond similarly to suspected violations of the alcohol/tobacco laws. University police officers may or may not be aware of the presence of Excise police in and around campus.

Possible criminal court outcomes for those found guilty of misdemeanors related to Indiana’s alcohol laws include:

  • Assigned to take an alcohol education class at one’s own expense
  • Assigned community service hours
  • Driver’s license suspension (if operating a vehicle)
  • Fines
  • Option may be presented to participate in a diversion program
  • Non-compliance results in the issuance of an arrest warrant

When a summons arrest/arrest for alcohol violations comes to the attention of the University, students will likely be charged with a violation of the Rules of Conduct and may be subject to conduct sanctions as well as what is imposed by the courts. The criminal court process and the University’s process are separate.

Learn more about possible outcomes for violations of the University’s student alcohol policy.