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What is public intoxication?

Is public intoxication a crime? What exactly constitutes public intoxication? You've probably seen people who were slightly intoxicated before; they may have been walking down the street or headed home after a night at the bar. Most of these people won't be accused of public intoxication. Why? It's not enough to just be intoxicated. Public intoxication is actually better known as being drunk and disorderly.

To be accused of this crime, you should first appear to be drunk, second, be intoxicated, and third, be in public. Appearing drunk doesn't mean walking home while being drunk; it means being disorderly or out of control. If you're acting in a lewd manner, being boisterous, or disturbing the peace, then this charge could be filed against you.

To defend yourself against this kind of charge in Dallas, you can use several defensive options. First, if you have witnesses who can say you weren't being disruptive or behaving badly, then you may be able to get the case dropped or penalties reduced. Second, if you can prove that you weren't intoxicated and that a medical issue caused your behavior, that would be a good defense for the way you were acting.

If you're in a private place, like a home, you can't be cited for public intoxication. That means that you can't be cited on your own property, for instance, and any officer can't lure you onto public property to charge you with the crime. If you are lured into a public space, this can be used as part of your defense, since that's an illegal action.

Source: FindLaw, "Public Intoxication," accessed Feb. 25, 2016

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Law Offices of Frank Jackson
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