Public drunkenness, or public intoxication, is the crime of being intoxicated in a public place, even if the drunkard is of the legal drinking age. Persons under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs, or illegal drugs may be cited or arrested for public intoxication. Public Intoxication is usually a misdemeanor.
Intoxication is often defined as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit. An individual may also be considered intoxicated if they have lost their normal mental and physical capabilities. Most states, such as Texas, require that a person be intoxicated to the degree that they are a potential danger to themselves or to others in order to constitute public intoxication.
Depending on the laws of the state, the police may have several options or procedures when they suspect public intoxication. Common procedures include:
- Citing the individual and escorting them home
- Citing the individual and releasing them to a responsible party
- Taking the individual to jail or a "detoxification" center
- Requiring the individual to post bail prior to release from jail
- Offense on a permanent criminal record
If you are charged with public intoxication, a criminal defense lawyer can help you understand your rights and legal defenses, and guide you through the process.