Browse Category: Intoxication Laws

Public Intoxication Elements And Penalties

If someone voluntarily appears to be visible intoxicated in a public place, infringes on another´s individual or property rights or acts in a way that endangers himself or others, this is usually enough to get a public intoxication conviction. Being drunk, under the influence of drugs including over the counter prescription medication can also lead to a charge of public intoxication. Someone can be charged with public intoxication when he is or appears to be visibly intoxicated, unlike driving under the influence it won´t matter the level of alcohol or drugs in his system. If you have been charged with a public intoxication offense in Irvine CA, click here to know your options when getting arrested and sentenced due to this crime.

There are several factors that must be proved by the prosecution to convict a person a public intoxication offense

Appearing in public place

Public intoxication laws require the defendant being in a public place while performing this crime. Examples of a public place could be streets, sidewalks, parks, bars, and stadiums.

Being under de influence of illegal drugs, alcohol or any other controlled substance 

The testimony of the arresting officer presents the defendant´s behavior, and appearance can be enough to enable the jury to conclude that the defendant it was indeed intoxicated.

Causing harm or disturbance to other people or property and presenting danger to oneself

Most of the public intoxication laws require that the accused creates some disturbance, such as injuring other persons, harming a property or posing a threat to his own safety.

Public intoxication penalties

In several states with public intoxication laws, public intoxication is considered as a misdemeanor crime. It can be punishable by fines, probation, jail time or community service. In the state of California, public intoxications are classified as misdemeanors. However, if the defendant is suspected of only being under the influence of alcohol rather than illegal drugs, the law enforcement officer needs to bring the defendant to a sobering facility where he will remain for up to 72 hours. A first offense for public intoxication may be punished with up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Possible defenses to public intoxication charges

  • Not intoxicated: The defendant can argue that he was not intoxicated at the time of the arrest. For this, you will need to present a blood test.
  • No harm: The accused can also present evidence to show that he was not causing a disturbance or potential harm to himself or others.
  • Not a public place: Another defense is showing that the arrest wasn´t made in a public place.

Even though public intoxication is considered as a misdemeanor charge, you have to take into consideration that is still a crime, and it will stay on an individual´s criminal record, and you also will need to get professional help from an attorney and a bail bonds agent to take care of the situation. This video will help you understand with some examples how public intoxication charges work.


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