To some, a charge of public intoxication may not seem like a big deal compared to other alcohol-related offenses such as driving under the influence. However, a public intoxication charge can result in several months of jail time, hefty fines and a criminal record. The penalties are even harsher if you are a repeat offender or if you are under 21 years of age. Therefore, it is important to have an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney who can help you with your case.
What is Public Intoxication? (California Penal Code Section 647(f))
Under California Penal Code Section 647(f), it is unlawful for a person to be under the influence of any intoxicating liquor, drug, controlled substance or toluene in a public place if he or she:
- Is unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or the safety of others; or
- When a person under the influence interferes with or obstructs or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way.
Though commonly referred to as being “drunk in public,” a person can also be arrested for public intoxication if they are found to be under the influence of a controlled substance such as cocaine or prescription medication like Vicodin.
What is the Punishment for a Public Intoxication Charge?
Under California Penal Code Section 647(f), public intoxication is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in county jail and a $1,000 fine. If you are convicted of this offense three times within one year, you face a minimum of three months in county jail, probation and fines. You will also be required to complete alcohol education programs and perform community service.
If you are under 21 years of age, you also face the suspension of your driver’s license for one year under California Penal Code Section 13202.5. If you have yet to obtain a driver’s license, you face a one-year suspension delaying your eligibility to obtain a license.
A public intoxication conviction will appear on your permanent criminal record, which can hurt your employment and professional licensing prospects. Therefore, it is crucial that you have an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney who will fight for you.
What are the Defenses to a Public Intoxication Charge?
Depending on the circumstances involved in your case, an skilled attorney may be able to argue for a reduction or dismissal of the charges against you. Your attorney can argue that:
- You were not willfully intoxicated;
- You were not in a public place at the time of the offense;
- You were not a public safety risk; and/or
- You did not interfere with, obstruct or prevent the free use of a public way.
Call Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one is facing a charge of public intoxication, it is critical that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending persons accused of public intoxication. Our attorneys will fight to help you get you the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices inLos Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich Southern California criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you are located.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.