Articles Posted in Drinking in Public

If you have been drinking and you get drunk, you might think you are safe from being arrested by the police as long as you don’t attempt to drive. Certainly, making the decision to not get behind the wheel of a vehicle and attempting to drive is a good one. However, you can be arrested for being drunk in public (DIP) or public intoxication (PI).

Certainly, charges for either are far less serious than a driving under the influence (DUI) charge and carry much less severe fines and penalties. They are, however, misdemeanors that will end up being part of your criminal record.

Under California Penal Code Section 647(f), you are drunk in public if your intoxication level is such that the police believe that you are a danger to yourself and others. It further states that it is illegal to be in any public place if your intoxication level interferes with, obstructs or prevents others from using the streets, sidewalks or other public ways.

A public place can be pretty much any place outside of a home, including restaurants, bars, malls, parks, buses, public streets and sidewalks. It can also be common areas in apartments or buildings, parking lots, driveways, the front yard and the porch, for example.

A public place can also be a place that is not visible to or frequented by the general public, such as movie theaters, private booths in adult bookstores, spas and massage parlors.

Private places would be inside homes, garages, motel or hotel rooms and the backyard of your house.

The statute is directed towards situations where you are out in public and inebriated to the extent that you are falling down, passed out, impeding traffic on sidewalks or being rowdy because of your intoxication.

If arrested and charged with drunk in public (DIP) or public intoxication (PI), you can face up to as much as six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, in addition to summary probation. If you are convicted of a third DIP in twelve months, you can face a minimum of ninety days in jail.

Just as with any other DUI charge, the arrest really depends on the observations and opinions of the arresting officer, in addition to the blood or breath tests. These chemical tests are often flawed, inaccurate or improperly administered, however. The tests can be attacked during cross examination of the investigating officer as well as the arresting officer’s recollection of the events surrounding the arrest.

Continue reading ›

With all the celebrations going on during this time of year, it is a great time to get together with family and friends, but it is also a time of year when there is an increased amount of arrests. Many people are out and about on the streets, especially during block parties and holiday events. However, it is illegal in the State of California to have any alcohol in public. This means that you are not allowed to be consuming alcohol or have it open on public streets, and outdoors.

If you are stopped by officers for an alleged drinking in public violation, be familiar with your rights. You do not have to inform the officers as to what you are drinking, you may politely decline to comment. Much like your rights during a DUI stop, you have the right to remain silent and to refrain from saying anything that mightsbe incriminating.

Based on the surrounding facts of your arrest, your case may be strong or weak. For example, if officers have no proof that you were in fact drinking, then you may have a stronger case that could lead to a dismissal. If officers have statements and solid proof that you were in possession of alcohol on a public street, then your case could be very weak. An experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney has the knowledge and background to prepare a powerful defense on your behalf, whether your case is strong or weak. By coming to court prepared and ready can lead to a dismissal or reduction in charges. A small charge such as drinking in public may seem like it is not an issue, but the truth is that any offense on your record can cause hassle and trouble in the future. Keep your record clean and give yourself the best chance of obtaining your desired outcome!