Public Intoxication (Penal Code § 647(f))

Public Intoxication is the crime of being under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance while in public and being a nuisance or danger in some way while in that condition.

Public intoxication is a misdemeanor and is typically charged against individuals who are highly intoxicated in public and cause a significant disruption such as fighting.

If you or someone you care about is facing a charge of public intoxication or any other criminal charge, the criminal defense attorneys at the Weinrieb Law Firm can help explain the charges and properly defend against them. We can be reached twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week at (818) 933-6555.

Elements of Public Intoxication

The prosecution must prove the following facts to convict a defendant of public intoxication:

  • Defendant was in public (examples of "public places" include streets, sidewalks, parks, clubs, bars, restaurants and businesses);
  • Defendant was "intoxicated" (in other words drunk or under the influence of a controlled substance); and
  • As a result of being "intoxicated," Defendant was either:

    (1) unable to exercise care for his safety or the safety of others, OR

    (2) defendant prevented the normal use of any street, sidewalk or public area.

Punishment for Public Intoxication and Informal Diversion

Public intoxication is a misdemeanor and can be punished as follows:

  • Up to six months in county jail
  • Up to a $1000 fine
  • Informal (summary) Probation

In certain cases a defendant charged with Public Intoxication may qualify for "informal diversion." If the defendant accepts an offer from the prosecutor for informal diversion, he pleads guilty to public intoxication and enrolls in alcohol education classes. Upon successful completion of the alcohol classes, he is allowed to withdraw his guilty plea and the charge is dismissed.

Defenses To a Public Intoxication Charge

Potential defenses to a public intoxication charge will depend on the facts of the case, but may include:

  • Defendant's conduct did not occur in "public";
  • Defendant was not "intoxicated" (being "buzzed" or "tipsy" is not enough to convict a defendant of public intoxication); and
  • Defendant did not cause a significant nuisance (if defendant did not start a fight or cause a serious disturbance, there may be an insufficient "nuisance").

Contact Us

If you or someone you care about is facing criminal investigation or criminal charges of any type, please contact the criminal defense attorneys at the Weinrieb Law Firm. We can be reached twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week at (818) 933-6555, or through the confidential and secure email form on the firm's website at www.VWattorneys.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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