Public Intoxication

Public IntoxicationPublic intoxication is a legal charge that a person is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol in a public location.  Public intoxication falls under both state and local law.  As with other criminal laws, there are different components that make up the definition of public intoxication in most states.  These components are much more simple and straightforward than some of the other definition of crimes.

A public intoxication is generally defined as a person appearing or seeming to be drunk or intoxicated in a public place.  What’s interesting to take note of here is that you don’t even have to be drunk or high, you just have to appear that you are.  This is a fairly simple definition, but many states take it a step further and require that the prosecutor prove that the suspect was completely out of control to the point that they posed an imminent threat to other people in the public place.

However, if you are accused of public intoxication, then there are numerous defenses that you can bring up to challenge the prosecution.  The first and most obvious is that you were neither drunk nor acting drunk.  You can claim that your behavior was due to something else such as enthusiasm.  This is an affirmative defense that claims you definitely were not drunk or high or even acting like you were.

However, let’s say that you were drunk, or at least actually acting like it.  You can at that point claim that, even if you were drunk or acting like it, that it is not a crime where you are, or that you did so in a private place.  For example, according to criminal lawyers you could cite that a police or law enforcement officer forced you to come into a public location to charge you with public intoxication, or charged you in a private location.  There are also some locations in cities that allow drunkenness in public locations; if you happened to be in such a place, you can bring that up in your defense as well.

In addition to bringing up these points, the best way to defend yourself or a friend or family member who has been accused of public intoxication in court will be with a DUI or a criminal defense attorney.  You can bring up points such as whether or not the law was actually violated, if the police officer actually followed the law, etc.

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