California PC 647(f) | Public Intoxication

April 13, 2015

In California, public intoxication, commonly referred to as “drunk in public” is a charge frequent within the Los Angeles and Orange County beach surrounding areas – i.e., Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Santa Monica, and Venice Beach. Often times, police officers fabricate or exaggerate the circumstances to justify one’s arrest. This usually occurs when someone “disrespects” a police officer and unfortunately in response the officer retaliates against the suspect by unlawfully making up reasons to arrest them – e.g., drunk in public. To prevent the chances of having a criminal record, retain the services of a criminal defense attorney because there are a number of defenses to this charge.

Public Intoxication (PC 647(f)) Defined

Public intoxication is codified under California PC 647(f): “Any person who is found in any public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, controlled substance, or toluene, in a condition that he or she unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or the safety of others, or by reason of his or her being under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, or toluene, interferes with or obstructs or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way.”

What is the Punishment for Public Intoxication?

Public intoxication is punishable by up to six (6) months in the county jail.  However, the court typically places someone on a period of probation for 12 to 36 months requiring them to complete alcohol counseling, AA meetings, and pay a police department booking fee.

Example

Dan was having some friends over. A neighbor called the police to complain about the loud noise. The police show up and ask Dan to lower the noise. Dan talks back to the police stating that it’s his birthday and he will lower the noise later on in the evening. Upset, the police arrest Dan for public intoxication. In this case, Dan would be not guilty of public intoxication because he was not in a “public place” but rather within his own home. Additionally, Dan’s demeanor did not demonstrate that he was unable to exercise care for himself or others. Instead, the police officers arrested Dan because of his unwillingness to submit to their claim of authority.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

For more information, or if you have been arrested for drunk in public, contact a Criminal Defense Attorney at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers for a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.

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