Drunk in Public in California

If you are faced with the charge of drunk in public within the state of California, it is important to consult with an attorney right away — after explaining your situation to an attorney or lawyer, they should be able to tell you if your arrest was called for, and they 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.

The lawyers at Bair Legal handle a fairly large number of Northern California drunk in public cases, which are more complex than other types of alcohol-related offenses. With an arrest for public intoxication, it is crucial to have the specific facts of your case reviewed by an attorney who is experienced with drunk in public cases. If you have been arrested for being drunk in public in Northern California, contact Bair Legal to speak with an attorney who has handled a number of public intoxication cases.

There are a few other important things to keep in mind concerning the laws regarding drinking in public. (Because California's public intoxication laws are a good guideline for these types of situations all around the country, these tips may hold true throughout the entire United States.)

First of all, the very term drunk in public is rather misleading from the start – in order to actually be charged for such an offense, there should be more involved than just drinking alcohol in a public location. According to the law, it must be determined that you are intoxicated to the point where you have the potential to cause harm to either yourself or 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 — even likely — that a law enforcement 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 for police officers to place you under arrest for public intoxication.

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 fact, it's not unknown for those under the influence of narcotics to be arrested for drunk in public. In many jurisdictions, the drunk-in-public law is left up to the 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, and if convicted, you could face hefty fines and even up to six months in jail.

A drunk in public misdemeanor conviction can have other negative effects on your life. It will show up on any background checks be run by prospective employers, which may prevent you from landing your dream job (even if you meet all of the other requirements), 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 expunged for private sector employment opportunities must be revealed on any government license application. Therefore, it is important to contact a lawyer to discuss the merits of your case, as well as the possible outcomes and the ramifications such outcomes may have on your life both in the present and in the future.