Public Intoxication Criminal Defense Lawyer in Philadelphia
Public intoxication - also referred to as "drunk and disorderly conduct" - is a misdemeanor in Philadelphia. It probably seems like a relatively minor offense to you; after all everyone drinks and we all have a few too many from time to time. But this isn't how the law sees it. This isn't what future employers or grad schools will think. Public intoxication carries a very negative connotation and it is important to treat it seriously.
The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. understands that you want this offense to go away because you have a life to live and it shouldn't be hindered by one bad night. We will do everything we can to present a strong defense to either defeat or plea down your public intoxication charge.
What is Public Intoxication?
Public intoxication involves being under the influence and causing a disturbance in a public place. In order to be found guilty of public intoxication, the prosecution will have to prove all three elements:
•1) Under the influence - The individual charged must be apparently under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, controlled substances, or other intoxicants.
•2) Causing a disturbance - The individual charged must be causing a disturbance or pose a risk of harm to others, property, or their own person.
•3) Public place - The individual charged must be in a public place such as a sidewalk, street, parking lots, stadium, private property which may be accessible by the public, etc.
Defending a Public Intoxication Charge
You may be thinking to yourself that this is no problem, that the prosecution can't prove certain elements so you'll be fine. However, the bar is relatively low. Officer testimony may be sufficient in the eyes of a jury to prove that the individual was acting "under the influence" and "causing a disturbance". Furthermore, the definition of "causing a disturbance" is relatively vague and may be as minor as temporarily blocking a walkway or using offensive language.
The defenses your attorney should be prepared to mount include the following:
•1) That you were not in fact intoxicated. This is difficult because without evidence such as a blood alcohol test this will likely come down to a he said, she said situation between yourself and the officer. You will need further evidence to prevail on these grounds.
•2) You were not causing a disturbance. Bringing witnesses who testify that you were not causing a disturbance and were not bothering anyone and did not appear to be potentially harmful to anyone may serve to contradict officer testimony.
•3) You were not in - or were involuntary in - a public place. If you can provide evidence which proves you were not in a public place or were there involuntarily then you may overcome this element.
•4) You were under the influence of prescription medication. If the reason you were intoxicated was due to the effects of medications lawfully prescribed to you, the intoxication element may be overcome.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
Because the consequences of this offense include potentially jail time, fines (up to $500 for a first incident and $1000 for each thereafter), probation, and community service. Furthermore, this misdemeanor will remain on your record if you are found guilty and negatively reflect upon you whenever a background check is done in the future.
Do not take this lying down. You have rights and you are due your day in court. You don't have to and shouldn't simply accept the judgment of an officer on largely subjective elements which will forever impact your life. Call the Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. today to schedule a free consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys to discuss how we can help you.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.