California Penal Code Section 647(f) PC – Drunk in Public

California Penal Code Section 647(f) makes it a misdemeanor offense for an individual who is over the age of 21 to consume enough alcohol to become drunk in a public location. If you or a loved one has been charged with drunk in public, you should immediately contact Drunk in Public Attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and fight for you to keep you out of jail. You should not take a drunk in public charge lightly as a conviction for this crime can result in you being sent to jail for up to six months, as well as a fine of up to $1000.

So, to ensure that you don’t go to jail, you should contact a criminal defense attorney at The H Law Group to defend you. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

Text of California Penal Code Section 647(f) PC

According to the California legislature, any individual “(f) Who is found in any public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, a controlled substance, or toluene, in a condition, that they are unable to exercise care for their own safety or the safety of others, or by reason of being under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, or toluene, interferes with or obstructs or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or another public way.

Proving an Individual Guilty of Public Intoxication (Drunk in Public)

For the prosecution to prove an individual guilty of a criminal charge of drunk in public, it must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant voluntarily consumed alcohol, marijuana, and/or drugs
  • The defendant was drunk
  • The defendant was drunk in a public place
  • The defendant was unable to exercise care for his own safety and/or the safety of others

What qualifies as a public place? A public place is any place that is accessible to the general public. A public place includes a bar, shopping mall, restaurant, street, sidewalk, public park, and anywhere else where the public is allowed access to.

Note: Being drunk in public alone without engaging in any behavior that places your safety or the safety of others at risk is not sufficient for the prosecution to convict an individual of public intoxication (drunk in public).

Penalties for Public Intoxication

If the prosecution convicts an individual of public intoxication, an individual faces the following penalties:

  • Conviction of a misdemeanor
  • Up to six (6) months in county jail
  • A fine of up to $1000
  • Being placed on probation for three years
  • If you’re convicted of three drunk in public offenses in a 12 month period, there is a mandatory minimum of 90 days of jail

Examples of Drunk in Public Situations

For example, if you and your friends go out to a bar, and you become so intoxicated that you’re lying down on a sidewalk because you’re unable to walk. People are having to move around you to walk by you. If a police officer rolls through, he can arrest you for being drunk in public because it’s apparent that you’re unable to care for yourself. The prosecution can convict you of being drunk in public, so long as that you voluntarily became intoxicated, and no one drugged you or forced you to become intoxicated.

Here is another example, you’re out drinking with your friends, you start to become excessively loud and so the owner of the pub decides to have you leave his establishment. If you go outside and start trying to fight other people outside the bar, if a police officer observes this behavior, he may proceed to arrest you for being drunk in public. Also, the prosecution may charge you with the crime of disturbing the peace under CPC Section 415 PC.

Defenses to Drunk in Public (Public Intoxication) Under CPC Section 647(f) PC

The best defense that your attorney can make to defend you is that you were not in a public place at the time of intoxication. For example, if you were drunk at your home, a hotel room, or any other place that does not constitute a public place, the prosecution cannot convict you of being drunk in public. That said, if you were in a public place, such as a restaurant, a bar, on the street in your car, on a sidewalk, or anywhere else where the public is allowed to enter freely, the prosecution will be able to convict you of being drunk in public.

So, if you have been charged with being drunk in public, you should immediately contact a Los Angeles Drunk in Public Attorney to defend you and keep you from going to jail.

A second defense that your attorney may use to defend you is that you were drugged by another person. If this is the case, the prosecution cannot convict you of drunk in public because you did not voluntarily become intoxicated, which is something that the prosecution needs to show in order to convict an individual of public intoxication.

A third defense that your attorney can use is to argue that you were not intoxicated at the time of the arrest. If the officer does not conduct a chemical test to establish your intoxication or that you were under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs, this may be an opportunity to argue that you were not drunk. If this defense is successful, the prosecution cannot convict you of public intoxication.

Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Public Intoxication Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with public intoxication or being drunk in public, you should promptly hire a Los Angeles Drunk in Public Attorney to defend you and keep you going to jail. A charge of drunk in public should not be taken lightly as a conviction of this crime can result in you being sent to jail for a maximum of six months, so hire an experienced criminal defense attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and fight for you to keep you out of jail. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.

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Noah Adam

My name is Noah. I earned my Juris Doctorate from Loyola Marymount Law School in May 2014. I earned my degree in Criminal and Corporate Law. I have been crafting and creating some of the best legal content for the past five years.