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What's Inside

Sept 22 , 2011
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The crime in public intoxication

By Shane Goodman Publisher/Editor

People who have consumed more than a couple alcoholic drinks at one setting and then walked outside have likely wondered if they were breaking the law. The answer, in Iowa, is yes. Although it is legal for persons age 21 or older to consume alcohol, it is not legal for those same people to be under the influence of it. Or, to confuse matters more, they can't even appear to be under the influence of it. The public intoxication law provides police officers with a way to arrest troublesome individuals in crowds who refuse to disperse or habitual drunks loitering in public places. The law has its place, yes, but as this week's cover story points out, it is very broad in meaning and conflicts with laws that provide people of legal age to consume alcohol in public places. Does the penalty fit the crime? Or should public intoxication be a crime at all? Read on and decide for yourself. CV



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