It is deceptively easy to run afoul of the laws prohibiting public intoxication in Alabama. The state statutes governing this criminal act define the crime in such a way that numerous forms of conduct may be considered a violation.
Although it may be tempting for those charged with public intoxication to pay the fine without contesting the charge, it is important to consider the consequences of doing so. Even though the offense is considered minor compared with other criminal offenses, a conviction remains a matter of public record that can cause difficulties with housing, employment, banking, and other facets of life.
If you are facing charges of public intoxication, you owe it to yourself to consult an Alabama public intoxication lawyer who could explain the charges and their implications and outline your options for legal defense. Call a seasoned attorney today to get started on your case.What the Law Considers to Be Public
For someone to violate the prohibitions against public intoxication, that person must take action in a public place. Code of Alabama §13A-11-1 defines a public place as a location that can be accessed by all members of the public or at least a substantial group of people.
Specifically, the statute names schools, parks and playgrounds, amusements facilities, highways, transportation facilities, and apartment hallways and lobby areas as examples of such places. This list is only intended to serve as an example, so courts have interpreted other areas to be public places as well.Legal Definition of Public Intoxication
According to Alabama Code §13A-11-10, an individual may be found guilty of public intoxication when that person is in a public place while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to such a degree that the person either poses a danger to people around them or behaves in such a boisterous and offensive manner that it causes annoyance to others nearby.
It is important to note that merely being in a drunken or drugged state in public is not automatically a violation of public intoxication law. Intoxicated individuals must either create a danger to themselves or others or be obnoxious enough to annoy other people.Penalties
The state classifies public intoxication as a violation rather than a misdemeanor or felony. Even though this makes the offense comparatively minor, courts still have the discretion to impose a sentence of up to 30 days of incarceration in county jail and a fine of up to $200.Defenses to a Charge of Public Intoxication
Several successful defensive strategies may be applicable to fight charges of public intoxication. It could be argued that the behavior of the person charged did not create a danger or an annoyance to those nearby. In other cases, it may be shown that the place where the behavior complained of could not legally be considered a public place.
In other circumstances, the individual charged may argue a violation should not be found because the intoxicated behavior was induced by drugs that were legally prescribed by a physician. The defense strategy depends on the situation of the case, which is why it is imperative for the defendant to obtain an experienced Alabama public intoxication lawyer.Talk to an Alabama Public Intoxication Attorney Today
Though it may seem minor, public intoxication is an offense that could negatively impact your future. Anyone charged with a violation needs to be aware of their rights and how to protect those rights. You should also understand the consequences of an admission of guilt and your options for fighting the charges.
When you work with an Alabama public intoxication lawyer, your attorney could advocate on your behalf at each step in the proceedings to help bring about the most positive and least costly resolution of your case possible. Call for a free consultation to learn how years of legal experience could work for you.