Public Intoxication

Public Intoxication

Although P.C. 647(f) is usually charged as a Misdemeanor, it is often handled on the Infraction calendar in court if it is the sole charge. Most cases involve a person who is intoxicated and asleep on the sidewalk or at a Metro stop. Since no driving is involved, a lawyer can often negotiate a dismissal with the prosecutor or Judge in return for some AA classes. Which is why you should NEVER plead guilty before consulting a lawyer.

Public Intoxication Penalties


Public intoxication is an offense that is punishable by up to 6 months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1000.

As a misdemeanor, you can be put on probation for up to 3 years.

If you are convicted 3 times within 1 year, you must serve a minimum of 90 days in county jail, or attend a rehabilitation program for 60 days.


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Public Intoxication Defenses


P.C. 647(f) requires that the offense occurred in a public place, and that the defendant was willfully under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Thus, if you are on the premises of a hotel or other private property, you are not considered to be “in public.” Likewise, if someone spiked your drink, and you ended up on the ground obstructing a walkway, the “willful” component would be missing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Public Intoxication show up on my criminal record?

Yes. Like any misdemeanor, Public Intoxication will result in a criminal record.

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