Public Intoxication – Penal Code Section 647(f)
Over the course of the last twenty-five years, I've seen a lot of people charged with this crime of drunk in public – or basically, not being able to care for themselves in public. It's also called public intoxication. It's one of those scenarios where somebody just gets so drunk that they cannot care for themselves anymore.
They're passed out on the sidewalk, they get so drunk at some sort of sporting event or other event that they're just out of control – falling on the ground – and basically a danger to themselves or others. So, if you're charged with public intoxication or being drunk in public, obviously you want to get an attorney to help you out. It doesn't look good on your record when somebody sees that – a potential employer or somebody's that's looking to hire you to help them or anybody.
Let's say that you want to apply to a school to do sports or something like that, you don't want some drunk in public or public intoxication – especially not in Los Angeles county, on your record. So obviously, what we're going to try to do is get this thing either dismissed or mitigated down to some sort of an infraction. We're really looking to get it off your record so that it doesn't come back to haunt you.
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Public Intoxication or Drunk in Public – What is the Law?
Basically, what they are going to have to show is that you were so drunk that you are a danger to yourself, you're a danger to the public or you're just simply out of control in the community because of your level of intoxication.
Therefore, they are going to have to arrest you and charge you with this crime. Somebody who has just been drinking out, having a good time at a bar or a club and who's buzzed and feeling good – that's not a drunk in public. To be drunk in public, you're going to have to be passed out, incoherent – just simply out of control. I see a lot of cases where the police come up on the scene of some sort of a crime – somebody called 911 – and some drunk is giving them trouble, won't listen to them, is just simply out of control – a lot of times that person is going to be arrested and be charged with being drunk in pubic or public intoxication.
They're going to be put in a cell. They're going to make him sleep it off for a number of hours and then they'll probably let him go with a citation. Another thing I see where this comes up a lot is the police are trying to break up a fight, they come to a bar because there's a big mess out there and they have a bunch of drunk people interfering with them – obstructing them while they're trying to do their job. Those people are going to be charged with drunk in public.
I've also seen cases where people are having a party – they're loud, they're crazy – the police come, tell them all right that's it, the parties over, everybody get out. Anybody who causes them any trouble – acts crazy, yells at them, curses at them – basically, will not cooperate with them – they're probably going to get arrested for being drunk in public or public intoxication.
Penalties for being Drunk in Public
Basically, the penalties are they could put you in jail for a period of time. They can make you do community service, Caltrans, pay a fine. There's a number of different penalties that are available to the judge and the prosecutor, but a lot of times if you don't have a criminal record and they realize this is just a one-time occurrence – this is not going to happen again, it was an aberration – you just drank too much and lost control of yourself – a lot of times we're able to work things out for you so that you can avoid any jail time, set things up hopefully to get you an infraction, which is not a crime, and basically to protect your record so you don't have this stain on your record for the rest of your life.
What I have you do is we have you come in, we go over everything, we find out what happened, why you were in that state and what we can do to get you out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible to protect your record, protect your freedom and protect your reputation because nobody wants a drunk in public or public intoxication on their record because of the negative stigma that comes along with it.
Nobody wants to be viewed as a drunk and then try to go out and get a job or do other things where people are doing a life scan and checking your record. So, get to an attorney as fast as possible. Make the phone call. We can get you in, do a consultation and figure out how we can best protect your interests.