A public intoxication charge may seem minor, but a conviction can have lasting consequences. Penalties, a criminal record, and damage to your reputation can be permanent.
To strengthen the case, prosecutors might pressure you into a plea deal or add additional charges.
If you face public intoxication charges, it’s crucial to consult a lawyer before speaking with law enforcement or prosecutors.
Proving Public Intoxication
Although laws differ slightly by state, mere intoxication in a public area usually cannot lead to an arrest. Typically, police must perceive you as a threat to yourself or others for a public intoxication arrest.
Frequently, arrests occur without breath, blood alcohol, or field sobriety tests to confirm intoxication.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can dissect the prosecution’s case and often secure dropped charges before reaching court.
Due to the challenge of proving public intoxication in court, law enforcement and prosecutors often add extra charges in an attempt to secure a plea deal or establish a case.
Disorderly conduct charges, or the equivalent in your state, are commonly paired with public intoxication. If convicted of this offense, the penalties are more severe than those for public intoxication.
Resisting arrest is another frequent addition to public intoxication charges. A proficient criminal defense attorney can thoroughly review your case and construct the strongest defense against any state-filed charges.
Penalties For Public Intoxication
When facing a public intoxication charge, the local prosecutor often pressures you to accept a plea deal before consulting an attorney, offering minimal penalties like community service, a fine, and short jail time.
However, it’s important to remember that the prosecution may downplay the long-term consequences of a guilty plea.
Such a plea results in a lasting criminal record that appears in all background checks, impacting your standing with employers, landlords, and others.
It can also harm your personal and professional reputation permanently.
Furthermore, if the prosecution includes charges like disorderly conduct or resisting arrest alongside public intoxication, the potential consequences become much graver, including substantial prison sentences and severe penalties.
The implications of a public intoxication conviction are much more severe than what the prosecution implies, and a criminal defense attorney will provide guidance with your best interests in mind throughout the process.