Most drivers understand that they cannot operate a motorized vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08% or higher or driver with any amount of alcohol in their blood if they are too impaired to safely operate their vehicle, but public intoxication is also illegal if the individual is perceived to be a danger to themselves or another person.
For example, under the Texas Penal Code Section 49.02, public intoxication is defined as,
“A person commits an offense if the person appears in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that the person may endanger the person or another.”
Do I have to be given a BAC test or read my Miranda Rights?
Texas law does not require you to be read your Miranda Rights unless the police officer has you in physical custody and they are planning to interrogate you and they need to warn you about your rights to avoid self-incrimination.
Talk to a DUI lawyer if you have questions about how the elements of custody and interrogation are critical to whether or not you have to be read your Miranda Rights. Unfortunately, numerous crime dramas have given most individuals the false impression that they have to be read their Miranda Rights at the moment they are being arrested.
The police are also not required to provide you with a chemical test. They will instead generally rely on other types of physical evidence that you are intoxicated: slurred speech, blood shot eyes, stumbling, obnoxious behavior, etc.
What will the state have to prove for a public intoxication charge? They must prove that you were unable to care for yourself and you were a danger to either yourself or to another person.
How serious is a public intoxication charge?
If you have been arrested for public intoxication in Texas, according to the Texas Penal Code Section 49.02 (c) you will be charged a Class C Misdemeanor. Class C Misdemeanors in Texas are punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.00.
What if you have been convicted of more than 2 prior public intoxication charges? You can have your charged enhanced to a Class B Misdemeanor, which carries potential jail time of up to 180 days and a fine up to $2,000.
If you are minor who is under the age of 21 and you are arrested for public intoxication you will face, “the same punishment as if you had committed an offense under Section 106.071 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.” Without more information about what this means it is critical to understand that for multiple public intoxication charges as a minor you might face an enhanced Class B Misdemeanor which carries potential jail time of up to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000.
Minors may also have their license suspended, have to pay fines, have to perform community service and be required to attend an alcohol education course.
Hiring a DUI lawyer to fight public intoxication
If you have been charged with public intoxication this may seem like a minor charge with limited long-term ramifications, but this may be one of those charges that can rear up later when you are applying for a new job or admissions to a college.
- DUI – Refused Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Test. Was this a good idea? (duiattorneyhome.com)
- Randy Travis Arrested For Public Intoxication (huffingtonpost.com)
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