Tennessee is one of several states that prohibits individuals from being drunk in public. As a college student going to a sporting event or bar to have a few drinks with some friends, you need to be mindful of your actions while you are in public.
You may not intend to drink enough alcohol to become intoxicated, but you never know how alcohol may affect your body. How much alcohol needed to become intoxicated varies depending on factors such as age, body weight, gender, and what you have had to eat and drink that day, to name a few. If the effects sneak up on you while you are in public, there is the chance that law enforcement could arrest you on public intoxication charges.
However, just because you are drinking does not mean you will get a public drunkenness charge. Your demeanor and actions can lead to an arrest. In order for you to receive a public intoxication charge, law enforcement must prove your actions/intoxication falls under one of the following:
- Endangerment to the public
- Endangerment to yourself
- Disturbing and disrupting the peace
Some people who police officers apprehend for public intoxication also receive additional charges for breaking other laws. Alcohol clouds judgments and can make some people more aggressive and reckless.
The penalties for a public intoxication charge
Public drunkenness is a misdemeanor offense. In addition to receiving a sentence of up to 30 days in jail, a judge could require you to complete probation, pay a fine and court costs. Those are just the immediate legal effects. Other ways a misdemeanor involving public intoxication can affect you include exclusion from professional licensing in the health care, education and law enforcement fields, as well as adverse actions from college and education institutions, and potential employers.
Challenging a charge such as this is not easy. To improve your chances at successfully defending yourself against the charge, consider speaking to an attorney for guidance on your options.