Laws banning public intoxication in Staten Island fall under New York’s section of crimes against public order. However, many people are surprised to learn that it’s not illegal to be intoxicated in public in Staten Island if you’re under the influence of only alcohol. Rather, public intoxication involves being in public while under the influence of drugs.
What is public intoxication?
For public intoxication to occur, a person must be in a public place. The person must be under the influence of a narcotic or drug. They may not be under the influence of alcohol to be guilty of public intoxication. The person’s behavior must cause a danger to themselves or others, or they must behave in a way that might annoy others.
Staten Island public intoxication is a criminal violation. That makes it the least serious of criminal offenses. That means that the judge can order you to jail for not more than fifteen days. The court can also order a fine of up to $250. Other criminal violations include trespass and disorderly conduct.
Defenses to public intoxication include looking at each element of the offense to see if the state’s evidence fails. For example, a person must be under the influence of a narcotic or drug but not alcohol. It might be hard for the police to prove that a person is under the influence of a narcotic or drug. If the police didn’t test the person for alcohol intoxication, your attorney might argue to the jury that the state doesn’t have proof that drugs caused your intoxication.
Second, a common defense to public intoxication is that the person’s behavior isn’t problematic. It’s not enough to be under the influence of a drug in public. Rather, a person’s behavior must be enough to endanger persons or property or annoy others. This is a gray area. It might be hard for law enforcement to prove to a jury’s satisfaction what constitutes behavior that amounts to a danger or an annoyance. Juries expect to see high levels of proof, and the state may not be able to provide it.
When the police find someone under intoxication of either alcohol or drugs, they can offer to take the person into protective custody. In cases where law enforcement finds a person that’s incapacitated, they can take the person for medical treatment without their consent. In cases of involuntary protective custody, law enforcement must secure a doctor’s examination as soon as possible. Usually, they can’t keep a person more than forty-eight hours, and they must let the person go as soon as they are no longer a danger.
Related charge – Disorderly conduct
A person intoxicated with alcohol can’t face public intoxication charges, but they can face disorderly conductcharges. Disorderly conduct requires the person to intend to cause a public inconvenience or act with a reckless indifference that their actions may cause a public nuisance. Noise, offensive language, hazards or even a refusal to disperse upon the request of law enforcement can cause a public nuisance. In some cases, there might be constitutional challenges to a disorderly conduct charge based on freedom of speech protections. For a disorderly conduct charge, intoxication alone is insufficient. A person’s behavior must be problematic in public.
Related charges – Public lewdness and exposure of a person
Another charge that’s related to public intoxication is public lewdness. This charge is a class B misdemeanor. It requires a person to intentionally expose their body parts either in a public place or in a place that the public can see it.
Public exposure of a person is a criminal violation. It occurs when a person’s intimate parts are unintentionally exposed. There are a number of defenses that may be available to this charge, and a jury might hesitate to convict a person when public exposure occurs unintentionally.
Why work with us
It’s important to work with an attorney so that you can make sure that you understand the charges against you. A criminal violation is different than a civil infraction. Because a criminal violation can result in jail time, it’s a serious offense. You need to understand what charge you’re facing in order to prepare the best possible defense to the case.
Often times, a person finds themselves charged with a criminal violation when they have no other criminal history. That means that it carries the possibility of giving a person a criminal record for the first time in their life. That can affect employment and volunteer opportunities among other things. For this reason, it’s important that an attorney help you defend yourself against the charges to the fullest extent possible under the law. In some cases, there may be pretrial diversion programs or youthful offender programs that you may be able to take advantage of in order to avoid a criminal history.
If you’re facing a charge of public intoxication Staten Island, please contact us. We’re Staten Island public intoxication attorneys, and we’re eager to help each client prepare the best possible defense under New York law. We work tirelessly to help you achieve the best possible result in your case. We invite you to contact us.