Philadelphia Public Intoxication Defense Lawyer
Public intoxication – sometimes called “drunk and disorderly conduct” – is a misdemeanor in Philadelphia. It probably seems like a relatively minor offense to you; after all, almost everyone drinks, and we all have a few too many from time to time. However, this is not how the law sees it. This is also not what future employers or grad schools will think. Public intoxication carries a very negative connotation, and it is important to treat it seriously. There’s nothing illegal in Pennsylvania about having a good time including indulging in a few drinks, however, when your personal party strays into public view it can become a crime.
It may be tempting to just pay the fines associated with your summary offense since there’s typically no jail time included, however, Pennsylvania considers payment of these fines an admission of guilt, and the indulgence of a few cocktails has now turned into a criminal record that can potentially follow you for the rest of your life. The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. understand 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 in order to either defeat or plea down your public intoxication charge. Keep in mind that a public intoxication charge can cause harm on potential career positions and opportunities, so it would be in your best interest to contact one of our Criminal Defense Attorney today.
What Is Public Intoxication?
Public intoxication involves being under the influence while causing a disturbance in a public place. To break this down, in order to be found guilty of public intoxication, the prosecution will have to prove all three elements:
- That you were under the influence – The individual charged must be apparently under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, controlled substances, or other intoxicants.
- That you were causing a disturbance – The individual charged must cause a disturbance, or pose a risk of harm to others, property, or their own person.
- That you were in a 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 lawyer should be prepared to mount include the following:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
You need a lawyer because the consequences of this offense include the possibility of 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 on 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 do not have to and should not 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.