Many people consider it a crime to be drunk in public. If you ask them if it’s illegal, they’ll at least tell you that it is. And they are technically correct in California, which does have public intoxication laws.
But this can also be a bit confusing. How could it be Illegal to be intoxicated in public when so many people do it every day? Technically speaking, every person who walks out of a bar and down the sidewalk could potentially be violating this law. If they got intoxicated at the bar, which is legal, they would then leave and immediately be drunk in public. Why aren’t people being constantly arrested for this?
Making a disturbance
The thing to remember about public intoxication charges is that they generally just happen when someone has caused a disturbance. Maybe they started an argument. Maybe they got in a fight or they appeared to be in a mental state where they would harm someone else. Perhaps they’re just being aggressive toward those around them.
In other words, it’s not just about being intoxicated. Someone could certainly be impaired and quietly walk down the sidewalk with their designated driver, on the way back to the car, and they would never be arrested. But when there are aggravating situations, such as people getting into fights or arguments, then the public intoxication becomes an issue. The authorities may believe that the person’s impairment was the reason that they were acting in this manner.
Are you facing charges for being under the influence in public? It’s important to know what these charges mean, how the process works and what legal options you have.