Public drunkenness laws exist in every state. But these laws can vary, and individuals charged with this crime should have a clear understanding of their rights when presenting their defense.
The circumstances related to public drunkenness are unique to each case. Gathering and presenting evidence helps you avoid the penalties and long-term consequences of a public drunkenness conviction.
Defining Public Drunkenness
Public drunkenness (or public intoxication) is a common charge levied against people who consume enough alcohol to cause them to exhibit disruptive behavior that interferes with the wellbeing of others in a public setting.
They may become verbally or physically aggressive. Some individuals cause damage to public or private property, They may interfere with the flow of traffic and the safety of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
Local ordinances related to these behaviors may also be applied in certain cases. This can result in an arrest and charge simply for being under the influence in a public setting regardless of any demonstration of aggressive or disruptive behavior.
Georgia Laws and Public Drunkenness
Georgia state law defines public drunkenness as appearing in a public place while intoxicated and exhibiting vulgar, loud, or profane behavior. Indecent acts and exposure may also be included in cases that involve public drunkenness.
A public drunkenness charge can be made against an individual who exhibits these behaviors while being on private property without the expressed permission from the property’s owner.
Damage to property and the injury of others can result in additional charges, which increase the severity of the penalties and fines.
In the state of Georgia, the crime of public drunkenness is classified as a misdemeanor. Defendants who are found guilty can receive a sentence of up to one year in jail along with fines that can reach up to $1,000.
In some cases, defendants may receive a probation sentence in place of time in jail. This may still include a fine as well as requirements to complete community service or attend an alcohol awareness program.
Your Legal Defense When Facing a Public Drunkenness Charge
Protecting yourself from a public drunkenness charge requires the right legal resources. Working with an attorney who has experience and expertise in these and other related cases is the first step to take to avoid jail time and fines.
Your attorney will help you determine the best defense for your case as well as the evidence that will support it.
Citizens aren’t required to provide identification or other information to police officers if there’s no cause for them to believe that there is any illegal activity.
The officer must detain an individual first if there is reasonable suspicion of a crime being committed. Public drunkenness charges can only be applied when a police officer believes that the individual is intoxicated and has acted disruptively.
Defendants may demonstrate a lack of evidence supporting the police officer’s claim. A blood alcohol test may indicate that the defendant wasn’t intoxicated at the time of the arrest.
Witness testimony may be presented to show that the defendant was not acting in a loud, disruptive, or vulgar manner.
Knowing the best legal strategy for your defense is critical to achieving a successful outcome for your case.
A public drunkenness conviction will remain on your criminal record and has lasting impacts on your personal and professional lives.
It can limit opportunities for employment as well as prevent you from being accepted into an educational institution or qualify for financial aid, insurance, and other financial resources.
The right attorney will help you resolve your case to avoid a conviction and keep your criminal record clear for the future.