How a Lawyer Can Help with Public Intoxication Charges
Getting arrested for public intoxication can be scary and overwhelming. Even if it seems like a minor charge, it can still have serious consequences that impact your life for years to come. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side can make all the difference. Here’s an overview of public intoxication laws, penalties, and how a lawyer can help build the strongest defense for your case.
What is Public Intoxication?
Public intoxication laws vary a bit by state, but in general it means being drunk or impaired by drugs in public to the point where you can potentially harm yourself or others or cause a public disturbance. For example, stumbling down the sidewalk and wandering into traffic could constitute public intoxication. Simply being drunk in public is not necessarily enough to charge you. Police often have a lot of discretion on whether to make an arrest.
Typical Penalties for Public Intoxication
A public intoxication charge is usually a misdemeanor offense. Penalties can include:
- Up to 1 year in jail
- Fines up to $1000
- Community service
- Substance abuse classes
It goes on your criminal record. And even though it may seem minor, having any criminal record can show up on background checks and hurt your job prospects, finances, and reputation.
How a Lawyer Can Defend Against Public Intoxication Charges
A skilled criminal defense lawyer will thoroughly examine the details of your arrest and build the strongest case possible. Some ways a lawyer can defend against public intoxication charges include:
- Questioning the validity of the arrest – Was there actual evidence you were a threat to yourself or others? Questioning the officer’s observations and conclusions can sometimes get charges dismissed.
- Fighting improper police procedures – If you were arrested illegally without probable cause, evidence could be suppressed.
- Negotiating with the prosecutor – Prosecutors often reduce or drop charges if a defense lawyer can convince them the evidence is weak.
- Taking your case to trial – If necessary, demanding a jury trial and forcing the prosecution to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Mitigating penalties – Even if convicted, a lawyer can advocate for reduced fines, probation instead of jail time, etc.
- Avoiding additional charges – Police often pile on extra charges like disorderly conduct. A lawyer fights to prevent overcharging.
- Sealing your record – In many cases, a defense lawyer can have your public intoxication charges sealed/expunged from your record.
Why You Should Never Go Through This Alone
Navigating the criminal justice system is confusing and scary. Police and prosecutors are not on your side. Public defenders are overworked. Don’t take chances by going through this alone. Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer is critical for several reasons:
- They have intricate knowledge of DUI laws and defense strategies.
- They can immediately intervene and advocate for your rights.
- They conduct a thorough investigation and build the strongest case.
- They negotiate aggressively with prosecutors.
- They have resources like investigators, experts, and ability to uncover technicalities.
- They advise you on the law and potential outcomes so you can make informed decisions.
- They passionately defend you in court hearings and at trial.
- They know how to mitigate penalties and limit damage to your reputation and future if convicted.
How a Lawyer Helps After an Arrest
Here is an overview of how a lawyer springs into action after you hire them following a public intoxication arrest:
- They advise you not to discuss your case with police and to avoid self-incrimination.
- They perform an independent investigation, gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, visiting the scene, checking police procedures.
- They request and review police reports, breathalyzer data, videos, and all other evidence.
- They determine the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case.
- They identify any improper police conduct or errors by the arresting officers.
- They file motions to suppress evidence or dismiss the case if your rights were violated.
- They negotiate with the prosecutor to get charges reduced or dropped completely.
- They take steps to avoid additional charges being piled on.
- They keep you fully informed and discuss defense strategy.
- They vigorously defend you in court, contesting the prosecution’s evidence.
- They negotiate plea bargains if in your best interest to avoid risks of trial.
- If necessary, they represent you at trial, cross-examining witnesses, presenting evidence, and fighting for an acquittal.
Being arrested for public intoxication can have severe consequences that negatively impact your life for years. Don’t leave your fate in the hands of police and prosecutors who seek convictions. Hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately to protect your rights, seek dismissal of charges, and build the strongest defense. A knowledgeable lawyer levels the playing field, stands up for you, negotiates on your behalf, and aggressively fights for the most favorable outcome in your case. Don’t go through this alone. With an expert lawyer guiding you, the legal process is much less frightening.