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What is public intoxication?

On Behalf of | May 1, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Most people know that public intoxication is illegal. But, at the same time, they have probably been drunk in public before.

For example, say that you went to a football game with your friends in college. You were all old enough to drink, so you drank at your apartment before the game and had a few more drinks at the game itself. While walking back to the bus stop, you could definitely tell that you had drunk more than you anticipated and you were fairly intoxicated – all while being in a large group of other fans and spectators. 

But if this happens often, then what exactly is public intoxication and what does it take to get arrested?

Does it have an impact on others?

Essentially, the law is set up so that a person can be arrested if they are impaired by drugs or alcohol “to the degree and under circumstances such that he [sic] is likely to endanger himself or other persons or property, or that he unreasonably annoys persons in his vicinity.”

So the real question to ask is whether or not the intoxication is having a negative effect on other people. Someone who is so intoxicated that they are yelling and getting into arguments or even fights with others could certainly be guilty of public intoxication. But another person who had the same amount to drink may not be in any danger of facing arrest if they are simply being quiet and respectful of those around them. Therefore, public intoxication is not just about the level of impairment or someone’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), but about how their conduct is affecting those around them.

Are you facing these types of criminal charges? Make sure you know about all of your defense options.