In California, pursuant to Penal Code section 647 the crime of being drunk in public is prosecuted as a type of disorderly conduct. To be convicted of this crime, a person must be intoxicated in a public place, and either be unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or for safety of others, or has to interfere with or obstruct or prevent free use of any street, sidewalk or public way. As a result, in order to convict an individual, the prosecution must show that a person was so drunk that he or she was a public nuisance or a hazard to others.

The public intoxication law is heavily enforced. A conviction for public intoxication may result in imprisonment in a county jail for up to six months, probation, and steep fines. Such conviction may also affect the defendant’s eligibility for present or future employment. Moreover, when an individual who commits this crime is under 21 years of age, the court will suspend his or her driving privileges for one year. If, however, such person does not have a driver’s license yet, the court will order the DMV to delay issuing the privilege to drive for one year subsequent to the time the person becomes legally eligible to drive. The court may also suspend the juvenile’s driving privilege for even longer time if it determines that the minor presents an on-going danger to society.

If you have been accused of disorderly conduct, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney to vigorously represent you. At Wallin & Klarich, we have helped people accused of this crime for over 30 years. Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245. We will be there when you call.

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