ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • Law & Legal Issues

Is Public Intoxication a Felony or a Misdemeanor?

Updated on July 6, 2012

Public drunkenness—or, public intoxication, as it is more formally known—refers to the crime of being intoxicated in a public place. It does not just refer to alcohol; you can be accused of public intoxication if you are under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs, as well. It also does not matter if you are over the age of 21: anyone can be cited for public drunkenness.

What can you do if you have been accused, or are in danger of being accused, of public drunkenness?

Is it a Felony or a Misdemeanor?

Public intoxication falls under each state's individual jurisdiction; there are no nation-wide laws regulating whether you can be drunk in public.You will have to check the local laws to determine whether it is considered a felony or a misdemeanor in the state in which you receive your citation—although in most cases it is a misdemeanor.

The general difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is this: misdemeanors are considered less-serious crimes. While felonies can involve juries and be punishable by over a year in prison, misdemeanors at worst result in jail time of less than a year, or just a citation. Misdemeanors do go on your criminal record, but they do not generally affect your ability to serve on a jury, or to vote. If you receive a citation, you may have to go to court and either accept the citation, or present your case to a judge.

The general process of receiving a citation typically involves one of the following:

  • You receive a citation and are escorted home.
  • You receive a citation and are released to a guardian or other responsible party.
  • You are taken to jail or a detoxification center, where you may be required to post bail prior to release.

What is My Best Defense?

Since public drunkenness laws are treated on a state-by-state basis, it again depends on where you received your citation. If you were in a state where there are no public intoxication laws in effect, your best defense may be to politely point this out to the officer or judge.

Otherwise, there are a variety of other tactics you can take:

  • You can claim that you were not, in fact, actually drunk. Perhaps you were just overly excited, or enthusiastic; fans at sporting events, for example, can often appear much more intoxicated than they actually are—if they indeed are even intoxicated at all—due to their sheer excitement over the big game.

  • You could also claim that you were not, in fact, in a public area. It is oftentimes difficult to ascertain the technical difference between a "public" place and a "private" place. Not even police officers can always tell. (Also note that you cannot be ordered by a police officer into a public place so that they can then issue the citation to you.)

  • In some states, the prosecution must also prove that you were not only impaired in a public place, but that you were also posing an endangerment to yourself, others, or the property around you. If they are unable to reasonably do so, then they will find it difficult to build a solid case against you.

Of course, your best course of action is to speak with a lawyer; they are trained to deal with situations such as this. They have experience in working on cases such as this. They will be much better posed to assess your individual situation, and offer legal advice accordingly. Still, with these helpful tips, you should be pointed in the right direction. Good luck.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Ramone Griffin profile image

      Ramone Griffin 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      I live in Dallas Texas I was sitting in my car with an open beer in my friends parking lot. I had my music up a little loud and someone called the police. Well the police came and said that he smelled alcohol on me and that he was writing me a ticket for public intoxication and to go up to my friends house for a while before driving, he said that I didn't have to pay anything for the ticket I just had to go to court. So can I beat the public intoxication charge when I go to court.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)