You are likely going to have to fight this case. While the lack of a breathalyzer test is in your favor, you can expect that should you try this case, the officer will state that you showed all the indicia of being intoxicated in public. The case will come down to his credibilty. If the trier of fact believes the officer beyond a reasonable doubt as to his ability to perceive and identify the signs of your intoxication
, you can be convicted.
As for the civil side of things, police are immune from suit or prosecution if they are acting in the scope of their employment, absent negligence or misconduct. If you are acquitted of these charges, or if the case gets dismissed on its merits, then if you sustained damages, you would potentially have a civil suit. If you take a plea of any sort to get done with the case, or if you should lose after trial
, you would no longer be able to sue, as the conviction would make the false arrest
true, by definition.
Meanwhile, sending the report to internal affairs cannot hurt you unless you conceded in it that you'd had anything to drink earlier, in which case that would constitute an admission that could be used against you. It can also, however, bring on an investigation
into the officer, which is what you would want. Similarly, you can file a report against the officer with the VA Attorney General's Office. Again, however, be careful not to say anything that can possibly be incriminating. In fact, as you should be looking for a criminal
lawyer as soon as possible, you may want to show him what you plan on saying in your complaint
before you lodge it.
Here is the relevant provision of Section 17 - 7 with which you have been charged:
"It shall be unlawful for any person to be drunk or profanely to curse or swear in any public place in the County."
A first offense is punishable by no more than $100 fine.
Even though this has a civil penalty only and is a violation rather than a crime if you wish to fight the charges and make sure it can't appear to hurt you on a background check, and to protect your right to sue as well, make sure you have a lawyer.