Public Intoxication: Broad Category, Fine Line

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Public intoxication is not exactly related to Rochester DWI offenses. However, it is possible for someone charged with a DWI, or even a passenger in their vehicle, to be charged with public intoxication.

Public intoxication laws are often quite broad. There have been a number of cases where protocol and specific provisions were questioned because law enforcement entered into establishments which served alcohol and arrested patrons on the spot. Most attorneys would agree that, in such cases, a fine line is crossed.

Public intoxication laws should, and typically do, apply to the aftermath of imbibing, including actions and events occurring once the person has left the establishment in which alcohol was served. In some states, the laws can become complicated here because of social host liability, etc. However, public intoxication is a matter of being and acting intoxicated and impaired in public, typically by causing a public disturbance of some sort.

The truth is, law enforcement officers are going to become suspicious and arrest offenders at their own discretion. While the person’s actions may create suspicion or might be a dead giveaway of intoxication, even if they are not causing a scene or serious trouble, police perception and even the perception of a complainant or witnesses could be enough for an arrest, even if charges do not stick in the long-run.

The best advice to follow is to avoid making a public spectacle or target of yourself if you are going to drink. Use a designated driver or call a taxi to avoid DWI charges, and if you are on foot, on a bicycle, or with a group of people… make haste in getting home and away from public scrutiny. The slightest inkling of suspicion could invite police scrutiny and potential legal trouble.

If you have been charged with an alcohol related crime in Rochester such as a DWI or public intoxication, you need the advice of a skilled attorney. For a free and confidential case evaluation, give the Rochester DWI lawyers at Anelli Xavier a call at 585-797-6492.