Los Angeles Public Intoxication Lawyer
What is Public Intoxication?
In the state of California, it is not a crime to simply be drunk in public. Penal Code section 647(f) makes it a crime to be in such a state of intoxication, either because of drugs or alcohol, that you are unable to care for yourself or you pose a danger to yourself or others.
Unfortunately, law enforcement officers use this as a catchall provision to arrest anyone who is even slightly intoxicated.
Also, the crime of public intoxication does not require you to have any specific blood alcohol concentration, like in the context of DUI. So officers routinely conduct public intoxication arrests without having to administer a breath alcohol test or any field sobriety tests.
What’s the Worst that Could Happen?
A violation of Penal Code section 647(f) is punishable by up to six months in county jail, summary probation, and a thousand dollar fine. Though the charge is only a misdemeanor, public intoxication jail time is a possibility. If you’re convicted of the California public intoxication law, your immigration status might be in jeopardy.
Though the misdemeanor conviction won’t compromise your gun ownership rights. However, getting the conviction expunged from your record is a future possibility. The penalties for a public intoxication conviction are serious and can have long-lasting consequences. Don’t go it alone. Contact our public intoxication lawyers today.
How Can I Defend Against this Charge in Los Angeles?
Remember, being guilty of violating Penal Code section 647(f) – public intoxication in California – means the prosecution proves the arrestee was “unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or the safety of others,” or by virtue of intoxication you “interfered with or obstructed or prevented the free use of any street, sidewalk, or another public way”.
Obtaining a guilty verdict will be a challenge for even the most seasoned prosecutor. Remember, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. It’s their job to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were so intoxicated you jeopardized your own safety, the safety of others, or that you obstructed a sidewalk.
There are several common defenses to employ against a public drunkenness charge. Your public intoxication attorney can argue that the law enforcement officer didn’t observe the arrestee for a long enough timeframe to come to that conclusion. He can also argue that the arresting officer didn’t rationally determine that the arrestee was drunk in public. Instead, the decision to arrest was based on an assumption or prejudice.
The drunk in a public lawyer can also argue that the officer didn’t properly attempt to determine the actual level of intoxication through such methods as conducting a breath alcohol test or having the arrestee perform a field sobriety test. Simply put, as long as the law enforcement officer doesn’t discover you passed out on a sidewalk, you and your drunk in public attorney have a decent chance of prevailing against the prosecution and not being found guilty of the California public intoxication law.
You Were Not Actually Located in a Public Place
Remember, the onus is on the prosecution to prove that the accused is guilty. So one area your guilt will hinge on is whether or not the prosecutor can make the case that you were drunk in a public place. The key here is defining what exactly constitutes a public place.
A public place should be considered any area that is open and accessible to anyone. That can range from businesses to entertainment venues to simply being outside on a street or sidewalk. If you’re drunk in your own home, law enforcement doesn’t have the standing to arrest.
You Were Not too Intoxicated to Care for Yourself
This can be a gray area for any officer or prosecutor to prove. Unless you are passed out on the ground or unable to stand or control your body, who is to say you’ve lost the ability to take care of yourself?
Your drunk in public attorney should paint a picture surrounding the circumstances prior to your arrest that either proves your ability to take care of yourself or, creates enough reasonable doubt on the arresting officer’s opinion that you were a threat to your own safety.
Your Rights were Violated by the Arresting Officer(s)
Under any scenario in which an arrest has occurred, the arrestee has certain rights. In many cases, the arrestee might not be aware of some or all of those rights. That’s why legal representation is so critical when you’ve been arrested. An experienced firm of public intoxication lawyers will ensure that your rights were not violated by the arresting officer.
You Were not “Willfully” Under the Influence
This standard can also be challenging for a police officer to determine at the scene and for the prosecution to make the case in court. They need proof that you chose, of your own while, to consume a specific amount of either alcohol or drugs to bring you to a level of intoxication. That’s the key – it had to have been your choice to do so.
Your public intoxication attorney can always argue that you were involuntarily inebriated. There are two standards in which that case can be made. You can claim that you unknowingly consumed an intoxicating substance, or, you can claim that you were tricked or coerced into consuming an intoxicating substance. You were not obstructing the use of a public way. Under this criterion, a public street or sidewalk is classified as a public way.
So where the arresting officer initially encounters you will go a long way in determining whether or not you were obstructing the use of a public way. Location will play a huge role in determining guilt or innocence. There is a significant difference between being passed out on a sidewalk bench than at a friend’s barbeque that got a bit too loud.
Speak with a Los Angeles Attorney
Contact Our Public Intoxication Lawyers today. Being arrested for anything is a serious matter. Our criminal defense law firm can provide you with an experienced Los Angeles public intoxication attorney to ensure that your rights aren’t violated and that receive proper legal representation.
Use the Contact form or Call now for a free consultation (877) 977-7750.
What Happens When You Get Drunk in Public in California?
Being drunk in public in the state of California is not a crime. Penal Code section 647(f) makes it a crime to be in such a state of intoxication, either because of drugs or alcohol, that you are unable to care for yourself or you pose a danger to yourself or others.
What Happens if you Get Arrested for Public Intoxication?
There are three potential outcomes from being arrested for public intoxication. The arrested party can be sentenced up to six months in county jail. The arrested party can receive a maximum fine of $1,000. Or, the judge can grant the arrested part misdemeanor probation.
Does Drunk in Public Go on Your Record?
Despite being a misdemeanor offense, a public intoxication conviction will go on your record. However, the convicted person can request the offense to be expunged so long as certain criteria are met. First, the convicted person must have completed the probationary period or completed the jail sentence. They also cannot be currently charged with a criminal offense, on probation, or serving a sentence.
How Long Do You Have to Stay in Jail for Public Intoxication?
Public intoxication is punishable by a period of up to six months in county jail.
How Serious is a Public Intoxication Charge?
Despite a public intoxication charge being a misdemeanor charge, the consequences can be serious. The arrested party can potentially serve jail time. Also, having a conviction on your record can make it difficult to find a job or keep your current job. You can also have difficulty renting an apartment or applying for a professional license.
How Much is a Public Intoxication Ticket in California?
If convicted, the maximum fine for public intoxication in California is $1,000.00.
What are the Two Elements of Public Intoxication?
In California, a public intoxication classification consists of two elements. The first is that the defendant was willingly under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a controlled substance that inhibited the ability to care for his safety. The second condition is that the defendant is under this condition in a public place and his condition interfered with or prevented others from freely using a public street or sidewalk.