If you got a little carried away with the alcohol on New Year's Eve, you may be starting the year off on the wrong foot and facing a public intoxication, also known as a drunk and disorderly, charge. Fortunately, there are many defenses that a criminal lawyer can use to help fight a public intoxication charge, and potentially get your charges dismissed or have you found not guilty of the charges you are facing. Here are three of the most common defenses that a criminal lawyer may use to fight a public intoxication charge.
That You Were Not Drunk or Intoxicated
One of the most common defenses that this raised for a public intoxication charge is that you were not drunk, high, or under the influence of any type of substance. Unlike a driving under the influence charge, most states do not actually use breathalyzer or blood tests to determine if you are under the influence. They simply take the word of the arresting officer that you were acting as if you were drunk or under the influence of something. In some cases, you may be acting drunk when you are not really drunk if you are suffering from heat exhaustion, dehydration, or low blood sugar.
That You Were Not a Threat to Yourself or Anyone Else
A police officer can only cite you for public intoxication if they deem that you are a threat to yourself, to others, or to public property. If you are drunk, but have your wits about you and are minding your own business, you have not met the legal threshold to be cited or arrested. A criminal lawyer can work to defend a public intoxication charge by stating that you were not a threat to anyone or anything at the time of your arrest.
That You Were Not In a Public Place
The final defense to a public intoxication charge is that you were not in a public place. For example, if you are drunk in your own backyard, you cannot be cited for public intoxication. It is not common for a backyard barbeque or neighbors hanging out to get in a tiff after drinking, but if you were cited for public intoxication while you were in a private place that you had permission to be at, a criminal defense attorney may use this defense to help get the charges against you dismissed.
A public intoxication charge is a misdemeanor, which may not seem like a huge deal, but it can affect you if you are on probation, can show up on a background check, and may even prohibit you from being allowed to travel to certain countries. If you were arrested and charged with public intoxication, reach out to a criminal lawyer. They may be able to use one of the defenses listed above to help you fight the criminal charges you are now facing.