Public intoxication, or public drunkenness, refers to a person being intoxicated while in a public area. The term “intoxication” typically refers to a person being influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Whether the public drunkenness is unlawful depends on the jurisdiction. For example, public intoxication is not against the law in Nevada, but it is a different matter in Texas.

Does Texas Have a Public Intoxication Law?

Yes. In Texas, a person is guilty of public intoxication if they appear in a public area while being intoxicated. The intoxication must be to the point where the person endangers themselves or people around them.

What If I Was under Medical Treatment That Caused Me to Seem Intoxicated?

It is possible for a person to be cited for public intoxication when their physical state was caused by medical treatment, especially as a number of medicines do contain alcohol or other ingredients that may make a person seem intoxicated. Thus, it is a valid defense that a person was under the influence of alcohol or other substance if it was prescribed for therapeutic purposes by a licensed physician.

What are Other Defenses to Public Intoxication Charges?

Talk to a lawyer about specific public intoxication defenses that you may be able use. There are some common public drunkenness defenses a person can use:

  • The police officer wrongfully cited the person a private, not public, area
  • Police mistook a person’s disorderly conduct as drunkenness
  • Police told the person to go to a public place and then cited them for public intoxication after they merely followed the instruction

What Sentence May I Receive If I Am Found Guilty of Public Drunkenness?

This crime is a Class C misdemeanor. A person can be fined up to $500 if found guilty. They will not face any jail time.

Do I Need to Talk to a Lawyer about My Public Drunkenness Charge in Texas?

Yes, you should consult with a Texas criminal lawyer if you are being charged with public intoxication. Your lawyer will examine the facts of your case to determine which defense is best for your criminal case.