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Public intoxication, also known as or drunk in public, is defined by California Penal Code Section 647(f) as being under the influence, or intoxicated, by alcohol or drugs in a public area. A public area can be a shopping mall, the street or sidewalk, a parking lot or a bar, basically anywhere the public has access to. Your intoxication level must be that you are unable to make good decisions for your care or for the safety of others around you or you are obstructing the free use of a public area. Public intoxication is considered a criminal offense and is usually a misdemeanor charge by a prosecutor.
Our experienced attorneys can help you through a public intoxication charge and reduce the damage that the individual is facing due to the arrest. They will work to make sure the charges against the individual aren’t filed if they are only under investigation or have just been arrested. They will also work to get an acquittal or have the a reduction in the charges brought against you. Our attorneys understand the negative consequences of these types of charges and will help reduce any risk to your reputation, career or your future.
It is very possible to win a public intoxication case but it can only be done with the help of an experienced and skillful lawyer at your defense. A prosecutor has to prove certain factors for the individual to be found guilty of public intoxication. For the conviction to happen, they must prove that the individual:
• Was in a public area
• Was in fact drunk or under the influence of drugs, possibly both
• Was not actually capable of making good decision about themselves or the safety of others while in this state
An alternative to being found guilty of public intoxication is to be found guilty of disorderly conduct. A disorderly conduct charge involves an individual who is guilty of obstructing or interfering with the use of a public area like a street or sidewalk due to their intoxicated state from alcohol or drugs, or both.
Since this is a charge of a misdemeanor, a public intoxication charge is not as serious as other crimes. If convicted of this crime, an individual can spend up to 180 days in jail. There is no requirement to register a drug offender even if the individual was intoxicated due to drugs. It is still important to fight these charges so they do not end up on your criminal record which can affect your career and your future.
If is also possible to put in a plea deal for public intoxication if you are charged with a more serious crime. If you are charged with being under the influence of a controlled substance, you would face a harsher conviction and penalty. It is to your benefit to try and get the lesser charge of public intoxication in this instance and plea no contest instead. Often in those situations, the prosecutor will agree to dismiss the more serious charge and accept the public intoxication charge.
If you find yourself with a public intoxication charge, contact our experience attorneys to fight for you. Our attorneys have the knowledge to work through the court process for you and get the best possible outcome for your case.