California Drunk in Public and Public Intoxication Laws

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You’ve probably always thought that as long as you don’t get behind the wheel of a car when you’ve been drinking, you’re okay. After all, you’re not going to get a DUI while walking, right?

Surprising to many, it’s possible for pedestrians to face a criminal charge in California, known as “drunk in public” or public intoxication. Fortunately, is possible to aggressively fight a California drunk in public charge and avoid both the repercussions of such a charge and a criminal record. The experienced defense attorneys of The Kavinoky Law Firm have the skills needed to effectively defend your drunk in public charge and fight for your rights.

Just being under the influence of alcohol isn’t enough to prompt police to arrest you on this charge – a California drunk in public charge means that police believed you were intoxicated enough to pose a danger to yourself or others.

According to California Penal Code Section 647(f), it is illegal to be in any public place under the influence of alcohol or drugs in such a condition that you are unable to exercise care for your own safety or the safety of others, or to interfere with, obstruct or prevent the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way.

In some cases, police may opt to place an individual arrested for drunk in public in civil protective custody for up to 72 hours. This allows the individual to be evaluated and will be a bar to further prosecution.

It’s possible to fight this charge on several fronts. If police determined your blood alcohol content (BAC) with a breath or blood test, both the test results and their significance can be challenged. In other words, the test may not have been accurate, and even if it was, does that mean that you met the legal definition of a person who posed a danger to yourself or others? This is only one of the defense strategies that is used by the savvy attorneys at the Kavinoky Law Firm.

Another potent weapon when fighting a drunk in public charge in California is the arresting officer’s own recollections. Just as in a drunk driving case, police tend to make notes of things that support the allegation that you were impaired, but under cross-examination, it’s possible to extract details that demonstrate that you didn’t pose a danger to anyone, and to challenge the accuracy of the officer’s recollection of the event.

Although a California public intoxication charge isn’t as serious as a DUI arrest, it’s still a criminal offense that carries repercussions as well as the threat of a criminal record. However, the skilled California defense lawyers of The Kavinoky Law Firm can help. We will aggressively defend you against a charge of drunk in public and fight to protect you from the unpleasant results of such a charge on your personal, professional, and emotional life. contact us today for a free consultation.

Darren Kavinoky
Darren Kavinoky
Founder at 1-800-NoCuffs
Darren Kavinoky is the founder of 1.800.NoCuffs–The Kavinoky Law Firm and is known as an award-winning criminal defense attorney.

The American Trial Lawyers Association has named him one of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in California” each year since 2007. Los Angeles magazine has identified Darren as a “SuperLawyer” every year since 2010. Darren received an “AV Preeminent Rating” by Martindale-Hubbell (a peer review ranking that signals the highest level of professional excellence and ethics); a perfect 10.0 Rating by (an independent attorney ranking site), and many other accolades.