Being drunk in public in California doesn’t seem like such a huge deal, especially when you’re enjoying some of the state’s beautiful beaches or great nightlife, but it’s actually a misdemeanor offense that could leave you in jail. But just walking in public after drinking a beer or two isn’t enough to get you charged with this crime and neither is drinking a beer in public. Here’s what you should know when it comes to the laws about being drunk in public in California.
What Does it Mean to be Drunk in Public in California
Also known as drunk and disorderly, public intoxication charges are usually only applied to those who are both drunk in public in California and acting unruly through some type of public disturbance. If a person is indulging in acts that could harm his or herself, could result in harm to others, could cause property damage, or of the person is interfering with others trying to use the street or sidewalk, he or she could be accused of public intoxication.
It’s worth mentioning that while commonly referred to as being “drunk in public,” the actual criminal charge is defined as “public intoxication,” which also refers to the use of drugs. This means if you are intoxicated by drugs, alcohol or any combination of the two, you could face criminal charges.
Why You Should Call a Public Intoxication Lawyer
Like many crimes, these charges largely depend on the discretion of the arresting officer. In many cases, the defendant was simply drunk and yelling loudly in the street, which is not enough to result in a conviction for this charge. If you have been accused of being drunk in public in California, it’s important to talk to your criminal lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your best course of action in fighting the charges.
Potential Penalties for Public Intoxication in CA
Public intoxication is a misdemeanor offense and sentencing may include a $1000 fine and up to six months in jail, and subsequent violations may carry sentencing enhancements. While simply being drunk in public in California and stopping someone from being able to cross the street may seem like a minor crime, it can still leave you in jail, which is why you should never attempt to fight these charges without the help of a San Diego public intoxication lawyer.
If you have been charged with being drunk in public, Peter Liss can help. Please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
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