San Antonio Public Intoxication Defense Lawyer
You go to a bachelor party, celebrate with friends at a cookout, or you are leaving a favorite club with friends and you have had a few drinks. In most cases, this is not a big problem, particularly if you are with friends and you are minding your own business. However, if you start getting rowdy and someone perceives you are a threat to yourself or others, you could be facing a charge of public intoxication.
Understanding Public Intoxication
If you have been out drinking with friends, in a private or public club, at a wedding or in any other venue, you are likely better off walking home. After all, drunk driving is illegal, and you do not want to face a drunk driving charge. However, if you present a danger to yourself, or others you could face charges of public intoxication. The only time you would not face these charges is if you were in your own yard, or a friend’s yard and intoxicated.
While the legal blood alcohol limit for intoxication is .08, you can have a substantially lower blood alcohol level and still face a public intoxication charge. An example of this is if you are walking and you are shouting, stumbling or acting in an otherwise aggressive manner, you may be considered a danger to yourself or others. If your blood alcohol level is .05, you can still face a public intoxication charge.
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1. Binyamin Applebaum. Out of Trouble, but Criminal Records Keep Men Out of Work, NYTimes.com, February 28, 2015.
Penalties Associated with Public Intoxication
For most people, a public intoxication charge is a Class C misdemeanor charge. However, if you have been charged in the past with this same misdemeanor, you could be facing a Class B charge. If this is your first charge, you could be facing a fine of up to $500, and be required to take an alcohol education charge. If you had a child with you at the time of the arrest, you could also be subjected to investigation by Child Protective Services.
If this is a second, or third charge, you could be facing jail time of up to 180 days as well as a fine of as much as $2,000. Clearly these charges must be taken seriously, you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately upon being arrested.
It is also important to be aware of the penalties if you are under the age of 21. Minors may be subjected to a loss of their ability to drive temporarily, they may have to perform community service, and they may still face fines of between $250 and $500 even for a first-time offense. This is important to be aware of if your minor child faces these charges.
Public Intoxication Defenses
You may think that if you are charged with public intoxication there is no defense. However, this is not the case. There have been instances where someone is facing public intoxication charges even when they have no alcohol in their system. Their erratic behavior may be a result of prescription drugs which can be used as a legal defense. Additionally, if your blood alcohol level is below .08 and there are witnesses or video footage of your behavior, it may be possible to get the charges dropped.
Whether you are facing a first charge of public intoxication, or you have had a prior arrest for the same infraction, contact us immediately. We can help you mount a defense, and attempt to get the penalties for these charges reduced. If you have had a prior arrest for public intoxication and it is hampering your ability to get a job, or an apartment, contact us for help having your record expunged.