Unlike the law in many other states, public intoxication in New York refers to being intoxicated because of drug use, excluding alcohol. Public drunkenness, in and of itself, is not a crime in New York state, according to the New York Penal Code.
Elements of Public Intoxication
In addition to being intoxicated, one of four different factors must also be present in order for a person to be found guilty of public intoxication. In addition to being intoxicated, a person must also pose a threat to his or her self, pose a threat to someone else, pose a danger to property or the intoxicated person must annoy someone else.
In order to be found guilty of this crime, it must occur in a public setting. A charge for public intoxication can be made even if a person is sitting in a parked car on a public roadway at the time the conduct occurs associated with the alleged illegal conduct.
The New York Penal Code includes provisions regarding protective custody when a person is intoxicated in public. In lieu of citing a person for public intoxication, or in conjunction with doing so, a law enforcement officer can take the individual to his or her home. The suspect must consent to transport. In the alternative, a law enforcement officer can take an individual who is intoxicated in public to a treatment facility.
If the intoxicated individual is incapable of providing consent, he or she can be taken into protective custody for a maximum of 48 hours or until he or she is no longer dangerous, whichever comes first. A doctor is required to examine a person taken into protective custody to ascertain if he or she is a danger to his or her self, or someone else. This examination must occur as soon as possible.
Punishment for Public Intoxication
If a person is convicted of public intoxication due to drugs, other than alcohol a person faces a possible jail sentence of up to 15 days. In addition, a person convicted of this crime can face a fine of up to $250.
Unlike driving under the influence, the penalties for public intoxication are not progressive. What this means is that the potential penalties do not become more severe after an initial conviction for the crime. No matter how many times a person ends up convicted for public intoxication in New York, the penalty for that specific violation off the law is up to 15 days in jail and up to a $250 fine.
In some instances, particularly if a defendant has a prior conviction for public intoxication,
In many instances, a person charged with public intoxication faces other charges as well. A person who is intoxicated in public may commit other crimes like trespassing, assault or battery, public urination or other offenses. In some cases, the offenses associated with public intoxication can end up having more significant consequences than are found in a public intoxication charge itself. A consultation with a skilled criminal defense attorney assists a person in understanding how a comprehensive defense can be made when facing multiple charges, including public intoxication.
Defenses for Public Intoxication in New York
There are a number of defenses associated with public intoxication in New York. One defense to public intoxication in New York is that although a person may have been impaired, it was because of alcohol and not some other drug. As mentioned, a conviction can only occur when intoxication is the result of a drug that is not alcohol.
Another defense is that none of the specific elements outlined in the law were satisfied. In other words, although a person may have been intoxicated, that individual did not pose a threat to his or her self, did not pose a threat to someone else, did not pose a danger to property or the intoxicated person did not annoy someone else.
Some sort of mental impairment might be brought to bear in a defense for public intoxication. However, raising a full-blown legal insanity defense is not likely in this type of case. Along these same lines, if a person was prescribed medication and was having a negative reaction to that drug in public, that might be available as a defense in a public intoxication case.
Retain a Suffolk County Public Intoxication Lawyer
Retaining an experienced, skilled Suffolk County public intoxication lawyer begins when a person facing this type of charge schedules an initial appointment with a legal counsel. As a matter of routine, a criminal defense lawyer does not charge a client for an initial consultation.
During a preliminary consultation, a person charged with public intoxication can obtain answers to his or her important questions. A lawyer will provide a professional, thorough case evaluation. This includes a presentation and discussion of possible defenses in a public intoxication case.