Public Intoxication

gavel and books

If you have been arrested for being drunk in public, call the Law Offices of Nam Q. Doan today. Public Intoxication is a misdemeanor classified as disorderly conduct under California Penal Code 647(f).

Public intoxication is committed if you are found in any public place under the influence of alcohol, drugs, controlled substances, or any combination of each. Being drunk in public also requires that you are unable to exercise care for your own safety or the safety of others, or in the alternative, you interfere or obstruct the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way.

This means that if you are drunk in public and you are at risk of causing harm to yourself or others, you can be arrested for public intoxication. Alternatively, if you are passed out drunk on a sidewalk, you can be arrested for public intoxication.

There are several drunk in public defenses available. It is important to speak with an Orange County public intoxication attorney to know what defenses you may have. Even if you think you may not have a good defense, your case may still be worth fighting because it is still the prosecution’s duty to prove you were actually under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Punishment

Public intoxication is a misdemeanor and if you are convicted, you can face up to six months in jail and up to a one thousand dollar ($1,000) fine along with court fees.

If you are under 21, the court can suspend your driver’s license for up to one year, even if driving was not involved. If you do not have your driver’s license yet, the court can order the DMV to delay the issuance of a driver’s license to you for up to one year.

The punishment increases if you have multiple public intoxication convictions within a 12-month span. A 2nd drunk in public conviction will require a minimum of 90 days in jail.

Elements

If you are charged with being drunk in public, it is important to speak with a public intoxication attorney. The Law Offices of Nam Q. Doan has been successful in fighting public intoxication charges and getting your case dismissed is top priority. Below you will see the elements that the prosecution must prove and the instructions the jury will read.

Public Intoxication – California Penal Code 647(f) – Prosecution Elements

The defendant is charged with being under the influence of (alcohol/ [and/or] a drug) in public in violation of Penal Code section 647(f).

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that:

1. The defendant was willfully under the influence of (alcohol[,]/ [and/or] a drug[,]/ [and/or] a controlled substance[,]/ [and/or] toluene);

2. When the defendant was under the influence, (he/she) was in a public place;

AND

<Alternative 3A—unable to care for self>

[3. The defendant was unable to exercise care for (his/her) own safety [or the safety of others].]

<Alternative 3B—obstructed public way>

[3. Because the defendant was under the influence, (he/she) interfered with, obstructed, or prevented the free use of a street, sidewalk, or other public way.]

Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose.

As used here, a public place is a place that is open and accessible to anyone who wishes to go there.

Defenses

You were not Drunk

In a public intoxication case, the prosecution must prove that you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Often times the arresting police officer does not test you to determine whether you have been drinking or on drugs. The officer usually just arrests you without taking the necessary steps to really know whether you were under the influence or not. This makes it difficult for the prosecution to prove that you were drunk in public. It is important to have an experienced public intoxication attorney who can clearly articulate this defense and communicate it to the court.

You were not in a Public Place

Another requirement the prosecution must prove is that you were in a public place. A public place is a place that is open and accessible to anyone who wishes to go there. This means that you cannot be arrested for public intoxication in places like your home.

Able to Care for Self

Even if you are under the influence, the prosecution must also prove that you were unable to exercise for your own safety. This will depend on the circumstances of the arrest, but having witnesses along with your side of the story would help in applying this public intoxication defense.

At OC Legal Defense, your rights are top priority. I am a public intoxication attorney working all over Southern California including Orange County, Los Angeles, and the Inland Empire. Call today at (714) 248-DOAN (3626) and I will aggressively fight for you. Quality legal representation at an affordable price.