If you appear in the general public in an obviously intoxicated state, then you may be at risk of being charged with public intoxication. This offense, also known as drunk and disorderly conduct, is typically considered to be a misdemeanor. Being drunk, however, is not enough to warrant a public intoxication charge. You must also be acting in a manner that may endanger either yourself or someone else.
Three Criteria for a Public Intoxication Charge
In general, one must be intoxicated and must meet at least one of the following three criteria to be charged with drunk and disorderly conduct:
- Posing a danger to oneself
- Posing a threat to those around, or to the general public
- Disturbing the peace
Public intoxication laws are set on a state by state basis, so the penalties for being cited with drunk and disorderly conduct may vary, depending on what jurisdiction you are in.
Punishment for Public Intoxication
Typically, if an officer arrests you for public intoxication, you will be taken to a local jail and be kept there until you sober up – generally overnight. Since this offense is typically considered to be a misdemeanor, the penalty is a fine. However, if you have actually caused damage to another person or piece of property, then you may face more serious punishment and further charges.
If you would like to learn more about public intoxication, or if you have been charged with DUI, then a Seattle DUI lawyer of Cowan Kirk can help. Contact us today at 1-866-822-1230 to speak with a qualified attorney about your concerns.