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How Serious Is A Public Intoxication Charge?

What is Public Intoxication?

Public intoxication is known as “drunken or disorderly conduct”.  It is a legal charge alleging a person is visibly drunk or under the influence of drugs in public. Depending on what state you are in, the law will vary. In most states, public intoxication is a criminal offense if it meets the following factors:
  • You were in a public place.
  • You were under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, a controlled substance, or other intoxicant, or you at least appeared to be.
  • You caused disturbance or harm to people or property or to yourself.

What are the Penalties of Public Intoxication?

Public intoxication is a crime. In California, being drunk in public is a misdemeanor.  If you are convicted, you may face up to 6 months in jail and you could be paying a fine up to $1,000.  This conviction goes on your permanent criminal record even if you don’t spend time in jail.  Once it’s on your permanent record it can be seen by prospective employers and licensing agencies. There are some common defenses used for this charge. They include:
  • You are not drunk and are not acting drunk.
A solid defense is that you were not actually drunk or behaving drunk in public. You can claim your behavior to be because of your excitement or enthusiasm.
  • Public intoxication is not a crime where you are cited.
Some states and communities, like Nevada, Montana, and the city of Milwaukee allow people to be drunk in public. If you were in an area that allows you to be drunk in public, you can use that as a defense.
  • You are cited for public intoxication while in a private place.
If you are cited for public intoxication, you must have been in public to be convicted. Public places include streets and sidewalks, public businesses, restaurants, clubs, shopping malls, parks, etc. Private places are homes and apartments, garages, or things on private property.

If you have been convicted of public intoxication, it can be hard to navigate through the legal system. Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer would be in your best interest so have a chance of lessening your sentence or to have it not be placed on your record.

How Can I Get Public Intoxication Expunged?

With a tough economy, having a clean record can make all the difference.  There are five main benefits of an expungement. They are getting a job, state licenses (i.e. Real Estate License), professional organization, personal satisfaction, and immigration consequences. All it takes is calling a criminal defense attorney to see what they can do for you.  

If you are in the San Diego area, Bradley Corbett has dealt with many public intoxication cases as well as getting them expunged. Don’t risk time in jail or the crime being put on your permanent record. Bradley Corbett can help.  Call him anytime for a free consultation.

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