When Public Drunkenness Becomes A Crime

Most individuals know that drinking and driving is a crime but public drunkenness can also be an arrestable offense. However, merely being drunk is not enough. If you are enjoying your time at the beach and have had a few too many beers, you may still be within the confines of the law as long as you're not inconveniencing others or creating a dangerous situation.

Posing a Danger to Yourself or Others

Even if you are only a danger to yourself, you may be arrested for public drunkenness. For example, if you are passed out in the middle of the street and could be hit by a car, this may lead to you facing a public drunkenness charge. Also, your behavior may injure someone else and this may not only lead to criminal charges but also civil penalties. If you're arrested for public drunkenness, contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Damaging Property

Those who are drunk may misuse property. For example, you may damage merchandise while you are drunk at a store. In addition to being forced to pay for the merchandise, you may be charged with public drunkenness. 

Annoying Others

In some cases, you might simply be asked to leave because your public drunkenness is annoying others. However, to be charged with public drunkenness, the prosecutor must prove that you were annoying others while drunk and that you were in a public location. Your criminal defense lawyer might argue that you were actually on private property when the event took place.

The Attitude of Your State Toward Public Intoxication

While public drunkenness is illegal in some states, other states treat public drunkenness like it's a medical condition that needs to be treated. Your criminal defense lawyer might argue that you shouldn't be charged and that you should instead be given access to rehabilitative services.

Even if there are no laws against public drunkenness in your state, you may still be arrested for other crimes associated with intoxication such as fighting or vandalism. If you are facing criminal charges, you may not only be forced to pay fines and face imprisonment but you may also have a criminal record after the incident. This can make it much harder to find employment in the future. For this reason, you'll want to do everything you can to have your charges reduced or dismissed so that a case of drunkenness will not impact your life.