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Understanding Criminal Law and Charges of Public Intoxication

The Collin County Law Group July 6, 2020

In Texas, alcohol-related criminal allegations are often linked to driving under the influence. However, people can be confronted with other charges related to being intoxicated. That includes public intoxication. While this might not sound as if it is serious, any situation in which a person is arrested can be problematic in myriad ways. It is important to think about the future and consider strategies to craft a defense.

There are three elements that prosecutors must prove to convict a person for public intoxication. The person must have been intoxicated by alcohol or another controlled substance, created a disturbance or harmed other people, and was in a public area. In addition to being intoxicated, the condition must be such that the person could not take care of him or herself and presented a risk to others’ safety. Being a disruption to the point where others are bothered by the behavior is sufficient to be considered as causing a disturbance. Public places involve simply being out of one’s home. In Texas, even places where it is legal to drink are not exempt from the law for public intoxication.

There are effective defenses to these allegations. Perhaps the person was not under the influence at all and did not behave in a way consistent with drunkenness. There could have been another reason for someone being loud and seeming to be out of control. It might have been a private location where the person should not have been charged with public intoxication. Some other avenues of defense include not having broken the law and law enforcement failing to follow protocol when investigating and making the arrest.

Since any criminal charge can cause challenges in a person’s life, it is important to try and find an agreeable solution. It might be possible to have the charges reduced or dropped entirely. Legal assistance with experience in navigating Texas courtrooms and dealing with the justice system can be useful. Consulting with a legal professional who understands criminal law may be beneficial when addressing a charge of public intoxication.