Drunk In Public

Since Palm Springs, Coachella, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, and so many other resort communities here in the desert are popular places to come and cut loose and shake off the stress of regular life, law enforcement can be very aggressive when visitors and locals start having “too much fun.” Although people are arrested for it every day, simply being drunk in a public place is not a crime.

The crime commonly known as Public Intoxication or Drunk in Public actually requires that you be so impaired by alcohol or drugs that you are:

  1. Unable to care for yourself, or
  2. A danger to yourself or others, or
  3. Obstructing others from using “Public Ways.”

If you are out and having fun with plenty to drink, but none of the above applies to you, you are not guilty of this offense, despite being arrested by an over-aggressive police officer who says otherwise and throws you in jail. When you get out the next day, all you will likely have is a citation that says PC §647(f) and a date to appear in court. They may even make you think that it’s a simple infraction that you can just pay off. It’s not.  

Potential Consequences

Drunk in public (§647(f)) is a misdemeanor criminal offense in California. A conviction can lead to probation and/or as much as six (6) months in the county jail and/or a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) plus additional fees and monetary assessments. In addition, a conviction after this silly little incident will remain on your permanent record and will be visible to prospective future employers and licensing agencies.

It may seem silly and it may seem small, but it is worth fighting to protect your future.

Defending in Court

The right defense attorney will know the long list of viable legal defenses available to defendants charged with being Drunk in Public.

The most common defenses include:

  • You were not in public
  • The prosecutor cannot prove you were intoxicated
  • You were not lawfully arrested
  • You were not a danger to yourself or others
  • You were fully able to care for yourself

These common defenses can be most successful, if you have a lawyer who knows how to present them; it’s not as easy as it may seem, but a good lawyer knows how to make them work for you.

Even More Difficult for Visitors

People come to the desert from all over the world; they enjoy it here for a weekend, a week, or even a season at a time and when it’s time to go home, it’s time to go home. Unfortunately, if you are arrested for being Drunk in Public, your troubles don’t leave when you do.

We have you covered. The law allows your lawyer to appear for you in court so you don’t have to come back. In many cases, we can handle the matter from beginning to end without you ever stepping foot in a courtroom. If you consider the cost of traveling back for every single court appearance, a tough and skilled attorney who will be there so you don’t have to is a wise investment.

When you or someone you care about are caught up in a criminal matter here in the Coachella Valley, let us help you through. Consultations are always free. Call today at 760-610-6109.

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Our legal team handles a wide range of criminal court cases, including:

  • DUI/DWI/BUI
  • Drunk in Public
  • Domestic Violence
  • Drug Crimes
  • Prop 47 Cases
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  • Evading Arrest
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