Public Intoxication

Facing a Drunk in Public charge within the state of California?
Consult with an attorney right away!



Explain your situation thoroughly to an experienced DUI attorney and they can help determine if your arrest was called for. Your attorney may be able to arrange alternative sentencing such as AA classes or community service as opposed to jail time. In some cases, they might be able to have the charges dropped altogether.

According to the law, it must be shown that you are intoxicated to the point where you have the potential to cause harm either to yourself or to another person. Simply walking home at night after drinking at the bar is not enough to warrant an arrest for being drunk in public — and neither is sitting on your porch with a few friends. However, it is possible that a police officer will arrest any person they believe is “drunk” regardless of their ability care for themselves or others. Screaming and yelling or causing a scene on a street, sidewalk or other public property while drunk in California, is enough cause to place you under arrest for public intoxication, however.

Furthermore, many people in California do not realize that an officer is not required to administer a breathalyzer test or a blood alcohol test before making an arrest for public intoxication. In many jurisdictions, the drunk in public law is left up to the individual officer’s judgment; if they feel you are obstructing public property or otherwise causing a scene while intoxicated, you can be arrested.

Being drunk in public is a misdemeanor in the state of California. If you are indeed convicted, you could face some hefty fines and even up to 6 months in jail. A drunk in public misdemeanor conviction can have other negative impacts on your life. A drunk in public conviction will show up on any background check run by prospective employers and it could get you fired or demoted from your current position; particularly if you deal with public relations of any type. You could also be denied secure housing or education as a result of your public intoxication conviction.

A misdemeanor conviction may be expunged for private sector employment opportunities but must be revealed on any government license application. It is important to contact a lawyer to discuss the merits of your case, possible outcomes, and possible impact on your life.