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Drunk In Public – Penal Code Section 647F


When it comes to the crime of drunk in public, people are being arrested and put into custody for basically, public intoxication which is the same thing as being drunk in public. A lot of times the people are just having the people dry out because they’re drunk, they’re causing problems, they’re picking fights, they’re ruing business establishments by being drunk and not allowing people to enjoy a restaurant or any other location, so the police will come in and grab them and that 647F charge is one that they can use for public intoxication and say, this person is so drunk in public that they cannot deal with being in society, so we’re going to take them and put them into custody and deal with them.

A lot of those cases are filed and a lot of those cases are not filed. It just depends on a host of different factors – like what the person did while they were drunk in public. One thing I’ve seen is, the police will come to a party or some sort of a club and there’s a big problem or disturbance with a bunch of people out three and they’ll tell everybody, alright everybody get out of here, let’s go, break it up. And those knuckleheads who can’t listen to that and stay around and cause problems for the police and won’t disburse, and the police know they’re going to get called out again and have to deal with them – those people they’ll just arrest and either get them for disturbing the police or they’ll get them for this public intoxication/drunk in public charge.

Of course, there are those people who really are really drunk in public. They’re staggering down the street and the police come upon them and they end up arresting them for being drunk in public. So, what factors cause a drunk in public case to be filed? Probably the person’s criminal record, if they have any other alcohol-related offenses, also what they did when they were drunk in public. Someone who is just walking on the sidewalk drunk in public that ends up getting arrested – which I don’t see happening very often – a lot of times the police are going to let those go. They may arrest them, but they’ll let them go later or they’ll send them into court and the prosecutors will look at it and decide – even though they probably could file a drunk in public or public intoxication in Los Angeles, they probably won’t do it and they’ll give the person a break.

But if it becomes a pattern that keeps happening over and over again, then obviously, they’re going to want to put you on probation. They’re going to want to punish you. They’re going to want to deter you from causing problems in public. Another thing is, the police also will use violence against people because they’re trying to disburse a crowd, they’re trying to perform their duties and someone is not listening, so they end up having to bump them on the head and arrest them. So, now they have to charge them with something. Well, if that person is drunk and they were causing problems – public intoxication or drunk in public, then 647F is a good charge for them to throw on the person. They’ll throw on a resisting arrest on their, disturbing the police. So, these are just charges that can be utilized to deal with or punish somebody who is causing problems to a degree that law enforcement needs to come and deal with them.

So, if you’re charged with a drunk in public charge or public intoxication, give me a call. Come in and we’ll sit down and let me know what happened. A lot of these cases even though they may be filed against you, I can get the mitigated down. I can work out some sort of a resolution where you can avoid a conviction on your record and avoid the stigma that comes along with a conviction. Maybe we can get some sort of a program. One thing I’ve been able to convince a lot of prosecutors is, let the person do some NA or AA meetings and if they do that, dismiss the case. If you get that dismissal, then you’re in business and now you can move on with your life and be a little bit more careful out there.

So, give me a call if you’ve got a drunk in public case in any of the Los Angeles courthouses and I’m more than happy to help you out.

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Named Top Los Angeles Criminal Attorney by LA Times and named one of the Top 100 criminal defense attorneys in California by the National Trial Lawyers Association. I'm the attorney other lawyers hire to defend them.

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