Non-alcohol Public Intoxication

A man in Denton was recently arrested after covering himself with black ink and running through traffic. Law enforcement were called to the scene. When law enforcement notified the man that he was breaking the law, the man proceeded to say, “I know the law, I am the law!” The man then told a law enforcement officer to take off the officer’s belt and gun. The man had a clear glass pipe in his hand, which was later determined to contain amphetamine residue. Law enforcement proceeded to arrest the man on charges of non-alcohol public intoxication and possession of drug paraphernalia. Public intoxication in the state of Texas is a particularly serious charge that requires the assistance of a skilled attorney.

Applicable Texas Law

Law in the state of Texas dictates that an individual commits an offense if the individual appears in a public place while intoxicated to such a degree that there is a risk that the intoxicated individual will endanger another individual or him or herself. A location that is licensed under the Alcoholic Beverage Code is considered a public place, which means that individuals can be arrested for public intoxication at bars.

Charges Against Minors

Texas has a special set of laws applying to individuals who are under 21 years old and found to be publicly intoxicated. For these minors, a first time public intoxication charge can result in the suspension of the minor’s driver’s license or authorization from the state of Texas to drive a motor vehicle. First time minors charged with non-alcohol public intoxication can also expect to face fines between $250 to $500 as well as mandatory community service. A minor charged with first time public intoxication can also likely expect to be required to attend an alcohol education course or program.

Potential Consequences

Public intoxication in the state of Texas is classified as a Class C misdemeanor with potential penalties including a fine of up to $500. Jail time is not a potential consequence of public intoxication unless an individual is a repeat offender. Two prior public intoxication convictions can cause an individual’s third public intoxication charge to become a Class B misdemeanor, which can result in jail time up to 180 days and a fine of up to $2,000. There are fortunately several types of defenses that individuals can use in response to these charges. One potential defense is if the substance that caused the non-alcohol intoxication was used for the purposes of medical treatment. Other potential defenses include the individual was not intoxicated and did not behave in an intoxicated manner or the individual was not intoxicated while in a public place.

Retain the Services of a Skilled Denton Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been arrested for non-alcohol public intoxication, at Wheeler Law Office we understand how these types of charges are made and will fight to make sure that case resolves in the best possible manner.

(image courtesy of Chaval Brasil )