Going out with your friends one evening, you may have experienced having one to many drinks. Once inebriated, you may not realize that your behavior is inappropriate, which could cause you to receive a hefty fine and land you in jail.
If you have been charged with public intoxication, you need to speak with Attorney David D. White. He has been helping clients in Texas with defense strategies to counter public intoxication charges.
A person is considered intoxicated if the individual:
To be charged with public intoxication, a police officer has to testify that a person was exhibiting drunken behavior. This could include slurred speech, stumbling while walking, or being offensive to others, but it is based on subjectivity.
According to the Texas Penal Code §49.02, a person is guilty of public intoxication (PI) if they appear in public inebriated to the level that they pose a threat to themselves or others.
There is no offense if you are stumbling around inebriated but not endangering yourself or others. The situation can quickly change, especially if you start breaking the law due to your drunken state.
A person can be arrested for PI in any public place, which includes any space that is available to the general public. The owner of a bar or club that is licensed to sell alcohol can call the police if they feel that a patron is behaving inappropriately, even if the claim is ill-founded.
As a possible defense to public intoxication, you may testify that the alcohol you consumed was given to you by a licensed medical professional as part of a therapeutic treatment program.
Public intoxication is considered a Class C misdemeanor, carrying with it a $500 fine. Besides being fined, a PI charge will also be a part of a person’s permanent criminal record.
Two offenses upgrade a PI charge from a Class C misdemeanor to a Class B misdemeanor. A more serious offense, an individual charged with a Class B misdemeanor may face up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $2,000.
While public intoxication is considered a minor offense, being considered the lowest category for criminal offenses, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a more serious crime.
Upon being arrested for a DWI, a police officer may request that the intoxicated individual submit a blood or urine sample. The officer may also ask that you take a breathalyzer test to determine if your blood-alcohol level is above the legal limit.
If you are convicted of a DWI, and it is your first offense, you will be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. The punishment becomes more severe with each offense, with both third and fourth offenses resulting in felony charges. If you are convicted of a DWI felony, you could potentially be facing ten years in jail.
Since being arrested for PI does not bode well for your future, it is best to try to get the charge erased from your record.
Unfortunately, if you are convicted of public intoxication, you will not be able to expunge it from your criminal record. On the other hand, if the prosecutor dismisses the charge, then you may be able to have it removed from your record. You do have to wait 180 days from the citation in order to be eligible for the expungement.
A public intoxication charge can hinder your ability to get the job you deserve or to renew your professional licensing. Often a PI charge is based on a police officer’s opinion and holds no merit. Don’t let a PI charge hold you back. Contact the Law Office of David D. White, PLLC, today.
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