Public Intoxication: Broad Category, Fine Line

Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

Decisions

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.

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