November 20, 2017

Being Drunk in Public And Legal Consequences

Not so long ago, the police were called to a carnival, because a man punched through a window. When the law enforcement officers arrived on the scene, they saw that the man was clearly drunk. His injuries were properly treated and he was then arrested for being intoxicated in public. He was released from custody later that day, once the police ensured that he no longer posed any threat to the public.

Drinking and being intoxicated in public may turn out to be a pretty serious crime. Hence, it is very important to know when it is a crime and, if so, to get in touch with a qualified, genuinely experienced Chicago DUI defense attorney.

The very first requirement is for you to be actually in public in order for it to be considered a public space. And, of course, over the years, courts have managed to come up with a definition of public spaces. This is a place that is freely opened to the public for participation, usage, and entertainment. If you were able to enter that space freely, it is probably a public area and drinking there is prohibited. Here are a few examples of areas that are considered to be public by the law – streets, parks, sidewalks, beaches, bars and restaurants, shopping malls and amusement parks, hotel hallways and lobbies, apartment building hallways, and so on. You will therefore need to be aware that drinking there is illegal.

Furthermore, do not forget that if you are not in your own place, it can also be considered public, even if you are alone. If the place was meant to be used by other people, it does not matter if you are alone or not – the place is considered a public spot as well. Subsequently, it is no wonder that you could be arrested even if you are lying on a sidewalk, as there are plenty of legal reasons to arrest you for that: you were drunk, you were in public, and you were interfering with other people, which are all great reasons to issue a warrant for your arrest.

Once you are arrested for being drunk in public, you are probably going to be taken into custody and to the police station. There they will wait until you will sober up and once that happens, they will release you from custody and will schedule a court date for you to appear. Hence, at this point, it is pretty important for you to get in touch with a qualified legal representative to get the most out of your legal defense strategy.

Though drinking in public is a misdemeanor, it does not necessarily imply mild legal consequences. After all, you may well be required to pay expensive fines and could even be facing some time in county jail. In addition, if you were drunk in public three times in one year, you will face a mandatory jail sentence of 90 days minimum. Still, the court does have the discretion to substitute the sentence with some other kind of option.

One way or the other, though, you will probably want to fight public drinking charges, and this is one of the many reasons why it is crucial to find a good Chicago DUI lawyer to help you. After all, there are a number of legal defense strategies that could help you out. First of all, there could be a lack of willful intoxication and do not forget about the space itself – it could really be private and not a public space. Finally, there is a chance that the police brought you to a public space on their own. There are plenty of different ways to fight this, but you need the right legal representative to do so.

John Wright, ESQ
Law Offices of Chicago DUI Experts