Public intoxication or drunk in public is a disorderly conduct crime. Although it may not sound too serious, a drunk in public conviction can lead to serious consequences including fines, probation, jail time and alcohol counseling programs. A conviction for drunk in public can also go on your record and reflect poorly when you are looking for a job, applying for a professional license or trying to get into an advanced degree or program. In short, having a public intoxication conviction on your record could very well affect your personal and professional life. If you are facing these charges, please contact an experienced Santa Clarita criminal defense attorney to better understand your options.
The Law Relating to Public Intoxication
According to California Penal Code Section 647: "Every person who commits any one of the following acts is guilty of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor: (f) Who is found in any public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, controlled substance, or toluene, in a condition that he or she is unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or the safety of others, or by reason of his or her being under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, or toluene, interferes with or obstructs or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way."
In order to prove that you were intoxicated in public, the prosecution must prove that you were willfully under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs; that you were in a public place while intoxicated; and you were unable to care for your own safety or you presented a nuisance to the public as a result of being in an intoxicated state. Those convicted of drunk in public could face a slew of consequences including informal probation, up to $1,000 in fines and up to six months in county jail.
Some of the common defenses in such cases include the fact that you were not in a public place. For example, if you were arrested on a private property such as a residence, you will be found not guilty of public intoxication. The prosecutor must prove that you were intoxicated and posed a threat to your own safety or the safety of others. No one can arrest you simply because you are a little tipsy.
Quality Legal Representation
An experienced Santa Clarita criminal defense lawyer will be able to analyze the circumstances of your case and determine whether any of your rights were violated during the arrest. Daniel E. Kann has successfully represented numerous clients in similar cases. He has the skill and experience it takes to get the charges reduced or completely dismissed. If you or a loved one is facing public intoxication or other disorderly conduct charges, please contact our law offices for a no-cost consultation.