Public intoxication laws are designed to prevent people from disturbing the public and to remove people who appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs to keep them from hurting themselves or anyone else.
Some states make public intoxication a crime, whether it is caused by drinking alcohol or using drugs. In most U.S. states, public intoxication is considered a misdemeanor. Punishment is generally in the form of community service, fines, alcohol education programs, probation, and serving jail time for less than one year.
The borough of Queens follows the New York law for public intoxication and in the city/state merely being drunk in public is not a crime. A Queens police officer may take a person into custody who is publicly impaired in the following situations:
• The accused may be taken home or to a treatment facility, but only if they consent
• If the person is incapacitated and unable to make rational decisions, a police officer can take the person to a hospital for emergency treatment. No consent is required in this event.
• A person can be taken into protective custody only if a doctor has examined that person and finds that they pose a danger to themselves or others. However, after 48 hours the person must be released from protective custody if they are considered no longer a danger. (N.Y. Mental Hygiene Law §22.09).
Even though a person cannot be charged with a crime for public inebriation in New York, they can still be arrested for DWI(driving while intoxicated) or DWAI (driving while ability impaired) if you were behind the wheel of a vehicle. Example: a person attended a private residential party and drank too much. They walked out of the building, staggering a little and was going toward their parked car across the street. A Queens borough police officer could charge them with drunk driving even though they only had a key in the ignition. A prosecutor could prove that he/she had the means and intent to drive.
Public intoxication due to drugs is a violation, punishable by up to 15 days in jail and a fine up to $250 (N.Y. Pen. Law § § 70.15, 80.05, 240.40). If an individual is charged with public intoxication, they should immediately contact a Spodek criminal defense attorney. A Queens public intoxication lawyer from the Spodek Law Group can tell you how your case will be handled in court and what your possible defense should be to protect your rights.
A pink summons or ticket is a 2016 enactment which is literally a ticket given to a person who has committed any of the offenses identified under this rule. Public intoxication and disorderly conduct are just a couple of offenses that falls under a pink summons or ticketed offense. Other charges include public urination, unlawful possession of marijuana, and trespass in a park after dark and more.
A pink summons includes tickets for offenses and it should be taken seriously. Pink tickets resulted from a lawsuit filed in 2010 which alleged that New York officers issued a vast number of summonses just to fill quotas.
Most of the summonses (25%) were found to be legally insufficient because it was never clear about why a person received the ticket and there was lack of evidence. Also, many of the summonses gave offenders a permanent criminal record, plus the penalties did not fit the crime.
This new legislation diverts over 100,000 ticketed cases to civil court rather than criminal court. This saves almost 10,000 people per year from having a permanent criminal record and avoiding over 50,000 warrants every year.
If you have received a pink summons or ticket to appear in court in Queens County, Brooklyn, Manhattan, or Bronx Counties, (usually called Part AR2) contact your criminal defense attorney at Spodek Law Group because summonses are not a trivial matter, they should not be ignored!
The basis of a public intoxication charge in Queens involves your behavior and demeanor which is the basis for this charge. Certain potential defenses that a Spodex defense lawyer can use to help your case may include the following:
• Being charged with public intoxication means that you must actually be in ‘public.’ Your criminal defense lawyer can argue what is the definition of public? People gather together on government owned property, private facilities where people meet, or a private property that is owned.
• An affirmative defense to charges of being intoxicated is that you were not behaving in a drunken manner in public. Perhaps you were being loud while holding a drink, therefore you can claim that your loud behavior was due to your being enthusiastic. The burden of proving this defense remains on the person accused of the crime.
• Whether the arresting law enforcement officer followed the law.
• Whether the defendant’s conduct did, or did not, constitute a criminal violation.
• Involuntary Intoxication.
• Defendants may argue that at the time of the arrest, they were under the influence of a medication given to them under the care of a licensed physician.
Another coup from reducing criminal offenses to civil offenses in Queens and New York is the “Criminal Justice Reform Act” signed into law on June 13, 2016 by Mayor Bill de Blasio. The new law contains eight bills (639-B; 662-A; 1057-A; 1059-A; 1067-A; 1070-A; 1058-A; and 1056-A) that diverts offenses to administrative hearings rather than being heard in a criminal court.