What You Need to Know About a Public Intoxication Charge

There’s nothing wrong with going out for a couple of drinks with friends, as long as you drink responsibly and do not drive while intoxicated. It is important to stay safe while drinking. Public intoxication is a crime in most municipalities. If you receive a public intoxication charge, here are a few things you need to know to fight the charge.

Public Intoxication Is a Misdemeanor

Being drunk in public is a misdemeanor offense. However, if you decide to fight a charge, you should do so with the help of public intoxication defense lawyers. Although not a felony, a conviction can lead to a hefty fine and a criminal record. Successful defense in these cases can be complex and difficult. This is why you should have an experienced attorney defending your case.

Public Intoxication Defined

Public intoxication is not like DUI where your blood alcohol level is the determining factor. It occurs when a person’s behavior in a public place clearly shows that the person is drunk. It can involve slurred speech, stumbling, or being loud and argumentative. The exact parameters vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and the local police interpret whether or not to write a citation.

Public Intoxication Proof for Conviction

For the prosecution of the locality to convict a person of public intoxication, it must prove two things beyond a reasonable doubt. First, that the defendant was drunk at the time of the alleged incident, and second, that the defendant was in a public place. In most jurisdictions, the public is defined as a space that is directly visible to the nearby community.

If you are cited for public intoxication, you can choose to plead guilty and pay the fine. You will, however, have a misdemeanor criminal record. A successful defense, though challenging, can be mounted with the assistance of a defense attorney.