In general, public intoxication laws are meant to protect the safety of
the intoxicated person and the public. According to the jurisdiction you’re
in, public intoxication could fall under “disturbing the peace”,
“disorderly conduct”, “disturbing the peace”,
or even “drunk and disorderly conduct”.
No matter what it’s qualified as, people are usually charged with
public intoxication when a police officer believes that an individual
is causing a public disruption while under the influence of alcohol, especially
if that individual’s disruptive behavior interferes with other people’s
enjoyment of a public area.
If alcohol or drugs is not involved, the individual can still be charged
with disorderly conduct. If a person is loitering, fighting, or being
very noisy, they can be charged. However, a majority of states have a
law that makes it illegal to be intoxicated in public, while others require
some sort of accompanying disruptive behavior to charge someone.
In Texas, an officer is not required to perform a breathalyzer or field
sobriety test on a suspect, which has lead to some criticism. Critics
say that officers use public intoxication charges to target and harass
minority groups. Punishments for a public intoxication charge in Texas
are Class C misdemeanors that result in fines not to exceed $500, probation,
community service, or alcohol education programs. In certain cases, like
a second-time offense, someone charged can be sentenced to jail for less
than a year.
If you or a loved one has been charged with an alcohol-related crime,
contactthe aggressive Austin
Carroll Troberman, PLLC.