Penal Code Section 647(f) outlines California's Public Intoxication ("Drunk in Public") law as follows:

A person "[w]ho is found in any public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, controlled sentence, or toluene, in a condition that he or she is unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or the safety of others, or by reason of  his or her being under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, interferes with or obstructs or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way" is guilty of a Misdemeanor. 

What Does This Mean?

In laymen terms, PC §647(f) means that you will be charged with a Misdemeanor if you are:

  • In a public place while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs; and
  • Are so intoxicated that you are unable to care for your own safety or the safety of others around you; or
  • Are so intoxicated that you are preventing others from using a public access way, such as a sidewalk or street. 

Although the name may throw you off, merely being intoxicated while in public is not enough to be convicted for this crime. There has to be an element of intoxication that is so high that you pose a significant risk of harm to yourself or to others. 

What Are the Penalties?

As a Misdemeanor crime, a conviction for PC §647(f) may result in up to six (6) months of jail time and/or a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000). 

Depending on the facts of your case, The Law Office of Neeraj D. Singh may be able to obtain alternative sentencing that may include probation, restitution (if applicable), and/or community service. In any case, our top priority will always be trying to avoid an alcohol related conviction on your criminal record, as these types of convictions tend to have a long-lasting affect on your life. 

What Are the Defenses?

Defenses to a PC §647(f) include:

  • You were not in a public place
  • You were not intoxicated
  • You were able to care for your own safety (i.e., had the ability to walk without assistance) 
  • You were not blocking a public access way such as a sidewalk or street

Have You Been Charged With Public Intoxication?

Call us at (714) 510-2221 for a FREE consultation! We are interested in hearing your story and identifying any weaknesses in the prosecution's case.