Court Affirms Right To Be Drunk On Front Porch
June 21st, 2015 | by Kevin James Krotz
Get Drunk On Your Porch
Add this to the list of things that most people thought they could already do! The Iowa Supreme Court has endorsed the right to be drunk on the front porch of a private home.
The case was an appeal by Patience Paye, of Waterloo, Iowa, of her 2013 case on the contention that her front steps aren’t a public place so that she can’t be charged with public intoxication. Justices rejected a district court judge’s decision that Paye’s front porch was a public place because it was accessible and visible to any passerby. Paye’s attorney, Public Defender Rachel Regenold argued that the ruling was important for property rights and personal liberties.
“If the front stairs of a single-family residence are always a public place, it would be a crime to sit there calmly on a breezy summer day and sip a mojito, celebrate a professional achievement with a mixed drink of choice, or even baste meat on the grill with a bourbon-infused barbeque sauce — unless one first obtained a liquor license. We do not think the legislature intended Iowa law to be so heavy-handed,” Justice Daryl Hecht wrote in the court’s unanimous opinion.
An important Decision For Personal Freedoms
The case revolved around an incident that took place on June 22, 2013. After fighting with her boyfriend, Paye called the police around midnight. Her boyfriend told police that he kept Paye’s car keys from her because she was drunk. Paye was questioned by officers on the front steps of her home and eventually agreed to take a breath test which revealed that she had a blood-concentration of 0.267 percent, more than three times the amount considered drunk if she were driving. She was then charged with public intoxication, along with domestic assault; a charge that was later dropped.
Iowa Attorney General spokesman Geoff Greenwood said that prosecutors “Respect the court’s ruling which has a narrow scope in that it addresses intoxication while a person is on the front porch of a single family home.”
Now Go Get Drunk On Your Porch
Iowa is one of only a handful of states that criminalizes public intoxication. Montana, North Carolina, and North Dakota are among the few that do criminalize the practice, but the states prohibit someone from being prosecuted solely for public intoxication; something highlighted by Justice Heict in the Supreme Court’s decision.
Source: DesMoines Register