Additional information about drugs and alcohol may be found at Ball State's Safe And Drug-Free Campus website and at

Ball State's alcohol policy appears in the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities at Appendix A (

Laws Concerning Drinking or Serving Alcohol

The summary below is intended to provide an overview of some of the sections most relevant to university students. It is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice. Those needing legal advice should consult an attorney.

Alcohol Use by Persons Under the Age of 21

Indiana alcoholic beverages laws define the term "minor" as "a person less than twenty-one (21) years of age." Under Indiana Law, it is illegal for a minor:
• To possess an alcoholic beverage (even to hold a sealed container for another person).
• To consume an alcoholic beverage.
• To misrepresent his or her age for the purpose of obtaining alcoholic beverages.
• To furnish false or altered identification of any type for purpose of providing evidence of age to obtain alcohol.
• To have in his or her possession false or fraudulent evidence of age.
• To drive an automobile being used to transport alcoholic beverages, unless the minor's parent or legal guardian is present in the car. (Note: When a minor operates a motor vehicle containing ANY alcoholic beverages she/he is subject to arrest, unless a parent or legal guardian is in the car. A 21 year-old-friend does NOT qualify a minor to operate a vehicle containing an alcoholic beverage. It is no defense that the beverage belongs to someone else or is unopened.)
• To "be in a tavern, bar, or other public place where alcoholic beverages are sold, bartered, exchanged, given away, provided, or furnished."

Criminal sanctions for such violations include a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment in a local jail for up to 60 days. In addition to the criminal sanctions, Indiana law mandates a 90 day to one year driver's license suspension for any minor who is convicted of using any type of fake ID, or of entering a bar or tavern or purchasing or procuring an alcoholic beverage (with or without using false or altered driver's license). Under certain circumstances, local prosecutors have used the "criminal code," rather than the "alcoholic beverage code," to prosecute users of fake ID's. Class A misdemeanor charges of "deception" and class C felony charges of "forgery" have sometimes been filed. Also under a new federal law, possession or use of fake or altered driver's licenses or state or federal ID cards can be punishable by a fine up to $25,000 and/or a five year jail term.

General Alcohol Laws (these apply to all persons regardless of age):

It is illegal:
• To be in a public place in a state of intoxication (also known as "public intoxication").
• To sell, barter, exchange, provide, or furnish an alcoholic beverage to a minor.
• To sell, barter, deliver, or give away an alcoholic beverage to a person who is intoxicated.
• To sell, barter, exchange, give, provide, or furnish an alcoholic beverage to a person known to be an alcohol abuser.
• To hinder, obstruct, interfere with, or prevent the observance or enforcement of the Indiana Alcohol Beverage Code. For a person 21 years of age or over to encourage, aid, or induce a minor to unlawfully possess or use an alcoholic beverage.
• To take an alcoholic beverage into bar, restaurant, or place of public entertainment. (Indiana Law prohibits patrons from taking any alcoholic beverage into any bar or other place without liquor license. It also prohibits taking liquor into any restaurant or place of public entertainment.)
• To possess alcoholic beverages on which Indiana tax has been unpaid or to transport untaxed beverages into the state.
• To directly or indirectly charge for alcoholic beverages without a license (including charging for food, entertainment, cups, napkins, tokens, etc. where alcoholic beverages are distributed-there are no loopholes). (NOTE: A one-day temporary permit is easily obtained. This permit allows you to charge for beer or wine but also allows police inspection of the premises without a warrant. Rules on minors, intoxicated guests, etc., would still apply.)

Criminal sanctions for such violations include a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment in a local jail for up to six months.

Alcohol or Other Drug Impaired Driving

It is illegal:
• To operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated (under the influence of alcohol, any controlled substance, any other drug, or any combination of alcohol, controlled substances, and other drugs).
• To operate a motor vehicle with 0.08% or more alcohol in the blood, even if intoxication is not proven.
• To operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated or with 0.08% or more alcohol in the blood if said operation results in serious bodily injury to another person.(FELONY)
• To operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated or with 0.08% or more alcohol in the blood if said operation results in the death of another person. (FELONY)
Indiana law states that anyone operating a motor vehicle within the state gives "implied consent" to submit to a chemical test of intoxication (breath, blood, or urine). Failure to submit to the test may be presented as evidence against the driver in court and will result in a longer driver's license suspension than if the driver took the test and failed it. The courts have ruled that failure to cooperate with a test will constitute refusal in the eyes of the court. (NOTE: It is illegal to drive a car while impaired - even at blood alcohol levels below 0.08) Criminal sanctions for such violations include fines and imprisonment, license suspensions, and can include mandatory education or treatment programs.

Parties, Permits, and "Common Nuisances"

Indiana law requires a license to "...Ship, barter, give away, exchange, furnish, or otherwise handle or dispose of an alcoholic beverage..." (except to give it to a family member or invited guest who is of legal age). This has been interpreted to mean that it is all right to serve over-21 friends a beer or two but one may not sell it or receive anything of value in exchange for it. If a party gets larger than "invited guests," or if admission is charged (or "donations" accepted), a temporary permit is required. Without a permit, one can be charged with
• Serving alcohol without a permit (a class B misdemeanor) or
• Maintaining a common nuisance (a class D felony)

Social Host Liability

Under civil law in Indiana, the host of a party might be sued for damage caused by a guest who was served alcohol negligently. Negligence is determined by juries, so it is hard to predict, but the following steps will reduce liability for negligent serving of alcohol: enforce state laws and don't serve minors or intoxicated people; limit consumption to reasonable levels and provide safe rides or a place for intoxicated people to stay until they are sober; avoid high risk activities like drunk driving. Use common sense.

A Caution for Guests...

Even non-drinking guests at parties where alcohol is being served could be at risk for an arrest or conviction. It is a crime to "visit a common nuisance" (i.e. an unlicensed big party). Minors could also be charged with "constructive possession" of alcohol if they are close enough to alcohol that it is "within their dominion for control."