What you should know about public intoxication charges

There are many occasions that may lead to a person drinking to the point of intoxication. Some are celebratory, others less so. How a person acts while they are intoxicated can vary widely, and so can the laws related to public intoxication across the country.

What is Public Intoxication?

Public intoxication violations or "drunk and disorderly" violations are normally considered misdemeanors that happen when a person is acting drunk in public. In many areas the prosecution needs to demonstrate that the offender's behavior suggests that their ability to take care of themselves is compromised, or that their actions have become disruptive to others.

The definition of "public" can vary. Some consider public places to be government or commercial buildings or areas where large numbers of people gather. Others think of the public as any place where a person can be easily viewed by those outside their personal circle. In this case, someone who gets drunk in their home, but steps outside and acts belligerent or disruptive could potentially be charged with public intoxication.

Determining Your Defense

If you've were charged with public intoxication while visiting the Pigeon Forge area, dealing with the issue can be a nuisance. The charges can be particularly frustrating if there was no harm done, or if the charges never should have been brought in the first place. Fortunately, there are multiple available defenses to the crime. Some of the most common defense strategies in public intoxication include:

  • Not being or acting intoxicated
  • Not being in a public place
  • The incident happened somewhere where being intoxicated was not against the law.
  • The arresting officer failed to follow proper procedures

Sometimes, fighting against a public intoxication charge isn't about defending your own behavior as much as it is about protecting a family member or your family's reputation. A good criminal defense attorney will look closely at all sides of the incident to help determine the best way to proceed.

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