Were you recently arrested and charged with public intoxication in San Diego, CA? You’re probably worried about how the disorderly conduct charge will impact your future. Contact an experienced San Diego public intoxication lawyer at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers for help minimizing the consequences of the arrest.
Our legal team has years of experience helping clients facing criminal charges. We’ll do everything possible to protect your future and clear your name.
A public intoxication conviction can have serious and long-lasting consequences. Our lawyers will fight to help you get the fair treatment you deserve. To learn more about our experience, call our law firm in San Diego, California at (619) 357-4977 to schedule a free consultation today.
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How Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers Can Help if You Were Charged With Public Intoxication in San Diego
You deserve to have an experienced advocate by your side when you’re facing any type of criminal charge. The skill of your attorney can mean the difference between jail time and having your case dismissed.
At Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers, our defense attorneys have helped countless clients fight criminal charges over the years. We know that the criminal justice system in California can be confusing. We’re here to help you navigate the complexities and secure the best outcome possible.
When you hire our team to protect you, you can be confident that we will:
- Help you understand all of your legal rights and options
- Conduct our own investigation to locate evidence to prove your innocence
- Examine all of the prosecution’s evidence and identify any weaknesses
- Engage in negotiations behind the scenes to have your charges downgraded or dismissed if possible
- Advocate fiercely to protect your rights in the courtroom
Prosecutors start building their case the moment you’re arrested. To level the playing field, you need an experienced San Diego public intoxication lawyer who will start locating the evidence to clear your name.
Our lawyers know how to locate the evidence you need to back up your defense. If you’ve been accused of public intoxication, don’t wait another minute. Call our legal team to schedule your free initial consultation today.
Overview of Public Intoxication Laws in California
Depending on the circumstances, it can be a crime to be publicly intoxicated in the state of California. Public intoxication is a criminal offense that is charged under the general disorderly conduct law in California Penal Code Section 647(f). However, it isn’t always a crime to be drunk in public. The state will have to prove several different elements to convict.
It’s a crime to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol in a public space if you:
- Were unable to exercise care for your own safety or for the safety of another, or
- You obstruct or prevent another person’s use of streets, sidewalks, and other public spaces
To convict on public intoxication charges, the prosecution must generally prove:
- You were in a public place
- You intentionally consumed drugs or alcohol
- You committed some type of act that either demonstrated an inability to care for yourself or interfered with the rights of others
Were you charged with being drunk in public? It’s important to start working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away. Call a San Diego criminal lawyer at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers to learn more about an attorney-client relationship today.
Were You in a Public Place?
You can only be convicted for being drunk in public if you were actually in a public place. Generally speaking, a public place is any space that’s freely open to the public. If you were able to access the space without restrictions, it’s likely a public space.
For example, you might be charged with public intoxication if you were drunk or under the influence of drugs in a:
- Beach or park
- Bar or restaurant
- Shopping mall
- Grocery store
- Parking lot
- Sidewalk or walkway
- Entrance to a building
- Amusement park
- The lobby to a hotel or office building
- A parked car on a public street or parking lot
For example, someone who is passed out on the sidewalk or a park bench may be convicted of public intoxication. Similarly, someone who is attempting to pick fights with strangers in a bar might be arrested for public intoxication.
If you were in your own home, hotel room or were an invited guest at a private residence, you can’t be convicted for public intoxication.
However, there’s no rule that others have to be present in the public space. If the police can prove you were in public, you can be convicted merely because others could have entered the space while you were intoxicated.
How Can Law Enforcement Prove I Was Intoxicated?
DUI lawyers often challenge the results of chemical tests. However, under California Penal Code 647, police can arrest you without obtaining a blood alcohol content reading. Likewise, there are no requirements that the police administer a chemical test to detect illegal drugs in your system.
So, unlike in a DUI case, you can be arrested for public intoxication even if your BAC was below the 0.08% legal limit that applies in drunk driving cases.
Most often, police make the arrest based solely on their own observations at the time. They may not even administer standard field sobriety testing to judge your level of intoxication.
On the other hand, if a breathalyzer test was administered it’s still possible that you didn’t commit the crime of public intoxication. It’s possible that you remained able to care for your own safety and the safety of others, and that you weren’t interfering with someone else’s right to use a public space. If that’s true, the prosecution can’t prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
What are the Penalties for Public Intoxication in San Diego, California?
Public intoxication is a misdemeanor. If you’re convicted, you could face a maximum sentence that includes:
- Six months in county jail
- $1,000 in financial penalties
Repeat offenders can face more serious charges. A third public intoxication conviction within a one-year period can carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days in jail.
In most public intoxication cases, judges aren’t required to order jail time. It’s possible that the judge could exercise discretion and order a 60-day drug and alcohol treatment program in lieu of jail. In other cases, the judge may be willing to order counseling or require you to attend AA meetings instead of jail.
Regardless of the facts, any criminal charge can have a serious impact on your life. A public intoxication charge can be embarrassing. It can interfere with your ability to obtain certain professional licenses. If you’re dealing with domestic violence, divorce, or child custody matter, it can also make things much more difficult for you in family court.
The quality of your legal representation can make all the difference in the world. If you’re facing public intoxication charges, don’t wait another minute to get legal help. Call Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers to schedule a free case review with an experienced San Diego public intoxication attorney today.
What Defenses Can Be Raised if I’m Arrested for Public Intoxication in San Diego?
Unfortunately, public intoxication is often a catch-all charge that police use to arrest someone who may be even slightly intoxicated. Often, police use the law to arrest someone who they think isn’t cooperating with their instructions.
An arrest for public drunkenness doesn’t have to lead to a conviction. Our experienced lawyers can work with you to identify the defenses that may be available to get your charges dismissed.
Some examples of potentially valid legal defenses in your criminal case include:
- You were in private, not in a public space
- You were not willfully under the influence of drugs or alcohol (for example, if your drink was spiked with alcohol without your knowledge)
- Law enforcement brought you into a public space to make the arrest
- The police violated your constitutional rights
- You were not sufficiently intoxicated to demonstrate an inability to care for yourself
- You were not obstructing others’ use of a public space
Public intoxication charges can be based on police bias or prejudices. Often, police make assumptions without full knowledge of the facts.
At Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers, we’ll do everything possible to prevent the prosecution from convicting you of being drunk in public. If you were speaking and behaving normally, we’ll identify witnesses who can testify on your behalf. We’ll also search for video surveillance footage that can prove you were not drunk to the point of being unable to care for yourself.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a San Diego Public Intoxication Lawyer
If you were charged with being drunk in public, it’s important to seek legal advice right away. An experienced San Diego public intoxication lawyer at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers can help you understand your legal options. For more information on how we can help you fight a public intoxication charge, call our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation today.
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