Drunk in Public Laws in California

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Man drinking liquorCalifornia has laws against being “drunk in public,” and they seem easy to understand.

You’re sitting at a bar with a drink in front of you and talking to no one, but you’re obviously intoxicated, or you’re sitting on a park bench, softly singing to yourself, and you’re obviously intoxicated. Either way, it means that you can be arrested for being drunk in public – right? Wrong! California’s drunk in public laws is very specific. You may be obviously drunk, but you can only be arrested for being so if your actions are:

* making yourself or others unsafe, such as throwing your glass at someone in the
bar, or
* you are causing an obstruction in a public place, such as tossing the park
bench (if you can lift it)into the street or at someone

Drunk in Public Penalties

California is also very specific about penalties for a “drunk in public” conviction. That means you have committed a misdemeanor, which may put you in the county jail for up to six months and/or a fine as high as $1,000.  If you find yourself in this position, you will need the help of a bail bond company.

If you are a repeat drunk driving offender, meaning you have been convicted three times within a period of one year, you face 90 days in county jail. However, jail time may be suspended if you agree to spend 60 days in an alcohol treatment and recovering program.

After a drunk driving charge, it is also possible that a judge will decide you should be placed on probation instead of going to jail. Although that is a lighter charge, it still gives you a criminal record, which may become a problem if you are seeking a new job or applying for a special license. Therefore, it might be worthwhile to fight the “drunk in public” charge.

A California criminal defense lawyer will work to reduce or even dismiss the drunk driving charges against you. The defense might focus on:

* There is no hard evidence that you were actually drunk. “Beyond a reasonable
doubt is the important point here.
* You may have been drunk, but you were not in a public place when you were
charged. You may get drunk in your home or in a hotel room, but in those cases,
you can’t be charged as “drunk in public.”
* Your civil rights were violated by the police officer who investigated you.

Bail Bond Help

If you face the penalties of a California “drunk in public” charge, you might consider the services of a bail bondsman. The bondsman puts up the money so that you can stay out of jail until the trial or sentencing. The money, in the form of a so-called surety bond, is a guarantee that you will return to court to face charges on a
particular date. That is the bail bondsman’s asset because most people facing “drunk in public” charges just want to stay out of jail. If you need help from a bail bonds agent, Let us know.