Everyone knows that drinking and driving can land you in jail. But what about having a drink or two, hanging out with your friends, and goofing off?
The answer is that it depends on where you’ve decided to do those activities.
In Alabama, drinking and carousing in public can be construed as public intoxication, a serious offense that can land you in jail just as fast as if you got behind the wheel of a car.
What is Public Intoxication in Alabama?
Under Alabama state law, Code 13A-11-10 states:
“(a) A person commits the crime of public intoxication if he appears in a public place under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or other drug to the degree that he endangers himself or another person or property, or by boisterous and offensive conduct annoys another person in his vicinity.”
But what does this legalese mean? If you are arrested and charged with public intoxication, the prosecutor must prove several things:
- That you were in a public place. This could include a park or common area such as parking lot or in a building hallway, or even a car parked in a public area;
- That you were under the influence of a controlled substance such as alcohol or a drug (or both);
- That you endangered yourself or another person, or property, whether personal or commercial; and
- That you annoyed someone else with offensive or boisterous conduct.
The first and second points are relatively easy for prosecutors to prove. However, the final two are more subjective, and therefore, more difficult to establish and prosecute.
If “just horsing around” with your friends leads to a charge of public intoxication, you can face penalties, including fines and jail time. What are the possible penalties that come with a charge of public intoxication in Alabama?
What are the Penalties for an Alabama Public Intoxication Charge?
When the arresting officer snaps cuffs on your wrists, you probably won’t be thinking that you’re lucky to live under Alabama law. You are, though, because state statutes list public intoxication as a violation, not a felony or a misdemeanor. Under current law, a violation is subject to fines up to $200 and 30-days in jail. While 30-days in jail is not easy and $200 not cheap, it’s certainly better than facing a possible felony conviction.
No matter the penalty, you’re in trouble. Having an arrest or a conviction on your record could make it harder to find a job. It could negatively affect the outcome of a civil suit. It might affect your ability to remain in college or attend graduate school.
An arrest is always a black mark on your permanent record with long-term ramifications that could kill your future opportunities. So, what should you do if you’re arrested for public intoxication in the State of Alabama?
Get Help for Alabama Public Intoxication Arrest
Anytime an arrest occurs, you need a legal team on your side as quickly as possible.
A good lawyer can help you achieve a better outcome when your fun night turns into something that you regret. An experienced attorney can develop a legal strategy that will:
- Help you understand and navigate the legal process
- Establish where you were when the incident happened
- Prove whether your actions really did violate the law
- Determine whether the arresting officer acted appropriately
An attorney can review the case and provide you with the legal options for resolving it. Your Alabama lawyer will research the facts of the case and present evidence in your defense if you go to trial.
A good criminal defense lawyer can improve the chances that the charges of public intoxication can be lessened or perhaps even overturned. A law firm can also help reduce the penalties should you be convicted.
If you’ve been arrested for public intoxication, call the legal team at Coumanis & York. We have more than five decades of experience, and our firm is devoted to the idea that everyone deserves a strong representation in the Alabama court system.
Public Intoxication Arrest? Call on Coumanis & York
Being charged with a crime is frightening and disorienting. The criminal justice system is a maze that you do not want to navigate on your own. If you lack skilled and experienced legal representation, the chances are high that you will get lost in the legal system. The ramifications will stick with you for the rest of your life.
We can help you turn things around and get your life back on track as quickly and painlessly as possible. If you’ve been arrested for public intoxication in Alabama, call on the experienced legal experts at Coumanis & York at 251-990-3083 (Daphne) or 251-431-7272 (Mobile). We can help you find justice and protect your rights.