Three Surprising Elements Of Public Intoxication Charges

Law Blog

If you appear drunk and disorderly in public, then you may be charged with public intoxication. In most cases, the police will only take action if you appear so drunk that you are behaving in a disorderly manner. However, there are some surprising elements of the charge that you may not be aware of such as:

You Can Be Arrested On Private Property

Public intoxication is meant to protect members of the public from harmful actions of intoxicated persons. This means that if you are intoxicated and causing problems in a park, street or store, then you may be arrested for it. What you do in your place, such as the backyard, is not an issue.

However, the definition of "public" has been expanded to include private areas, as long as you don't have the permission to be there. Therefore, if you get drunk and trespass into your neighbor's yard and start causing a ruckus, then you may be arrested and charged with public intoxication and disturbance. This is despite the fact that your neighbor's yard isn't a public place per se.

Intoxication Due to Prescribed Medication Is Exempt

There are so many things that can make you intoxicated. You may appear intoxicated if you are under the influence of alcohol, cocaine, glue and even prescribed medication such as morphine. While all these drugs may get you charged with driving under the influence (DUI), intoxication caused by a prescribed drug will not attract a public intoxication charge.

Of course, this will only be the case if you had taken the prescribed medication in accordance with your doctor's instructions and the directions on the medicine's label. Therefore, you may still get the public intoxication charge if you overdosed on your prescribed medicine. In some cases, you may be required to undergo a test to determine what caused your intoxication.

It Includes Potential Injury to Your Own Being

In most places, being under the influence of a drug will only attract a public intoxication charge if you create a public disturbance. Note here that the definition of public disturbance can be broad enough to include serious things like causing or attempting to cause physical harm to others, as well as "minor" issues like blocking sidewalks.

However, what you may not know is that you may even be charged if the disturbance you are causing cannot cause injury to other people, but it can harm you. For example, you may be arrested for attempting to enter a manhole even if the behavior cannot injure other people. To learn more, contact a business like Law Office of Michael Marinaro & Associates.


22 April 2015

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