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Public Intoxication Laws

What is public intoxication?

Public intoxication or otherwise known as drunk and disorderly is an offense that relate to being drunk in public. Article One of the Constitution of the United States does not give the United States Congress the right to control public intoxication under any federal law so under the Tenth Amendment, the individual states are responsible for making their own laws regarding public intoxication. With that said, the laws for public intoxication vary greatly from state to state.

What are some public intoxication laws?

Laws for public intoxication vary greatly from state to state but some states are very specific in their laws. In the state of California, public intoxication is considered a misdemeanor. The California penal code 647(f) describes public intoxication as any person displaying intoxication to drugs, alcohol, controlled substances, or toluene and demonstrate an inability to care for themselves or others, or obstructs the free use of streets, sidewalks, or other public way. In Georgia, public intoxication is considered to be a class B misdemeanor and is defined as any person who appears to be intoxicated in a public setting or in a privet residence that he/she does not own other than by invitation of the owner or lawful occupant.

In the state of Indiana, public intoxication is a class B misdemeanor and can be punished with up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $1000. It would be up to the officer who would have the option to take the person to jail or take them to their home or the home of a responsible person. The state of Kansas has no public intoxication laws and so states in statute 65-4059 which is as follows;

“No county or city shall adopt any local law, ordinance, resolution or regulation having the force of law rendering public intoxication by alcohol in and of itself or being a common drunkard or being found in enumerated places in an intoxicated condition, an offense, a violation, or the subject of criminal penalties.”

Missouri is another state that does not have any public intoxication laws. The permissive alcohol laws protect people from suffering any criminal penalty for the act of being drunk in public and stop local jurisdictions from enacting any criminal public intoxication laws of their own.

If a person had a public intoxication charge for having prescription medication not in a bottle, but has the prescription at home, what should he or she do?

The person would need to see of his/her attorney can show that the person has a prescription for the pills. There is a chance that if the prosecutor sees that the pills were indeed prescribed, then he/she may dismiss the charges.

If a person is arrested for public intoxication and issued a court date, can this be on his/her permanent record?

If the person is found guilty of public intoxication, which is a misdemeanor, then yes more than likely it will be on the person’s permanent record. The person would need to hire an attorney who may be able to get the charge or sentence differed, which would make it to where when the person completes probation, he/she will then have the charges dismissed.

In the state of Iowa, can a first time public intoxication charge carry jail time?

In the state of Iowa, a first time offender of public intoxication is considered a simple misdemeanor and could possibly carry a punishment of up to 30 days in jail, a fine ranging from $65 to $625, and court costs. The conviction would also give the person a criminal record.

Public intoxication may be a very confusing situation for any person. When a person is charged with the crime of public intoxication, then he/she should consult an Expert to clear up any confusion that they may have.
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