Drunk in Public Plea Bargain in California DUI Case
This is one of the charges that police use when they can't get somebody for a DUI. They'll charge them with a drunk in public charge and really, I don't see this charged a lot or booked a lot or arrested a lot, unless the person is just really out of control in public, causing fights, not obeying the police when they're trying to deal with an issue and they have a drunk person in their way.
That's when I see them charging this particular offense. Being drunk in public is a misdemeanor crime under California Penal Code 647(f), and punishes intoxicated behavior that puts people at risk or interferes with the use of sidewalks, roads and other public pathways.
Another area though where they will charge it is, let's say the police come up on somebody who is parked in a parking lot but they're outside their car and are intoxicated. Normally, the police are going to want to try to get that person for a DUI. But the person wasn't driving the car and they can't prove when they parked there, that would make it very difficult to get them for a DUI.
So, if they end up arresting them and doing all of the tests and everything and the prosecutors look at the case and say, we can't prove a DUI because we have no idea when the person is driving. You didn't get that information and there's no witnesses to support when the person was driving.
And a lot of times the police are smart enough to ask the person, when did you stop this car here, and they say ten minutes ago. Bam, now they have it. But, if they don't do that or have any witnesses, then that puts them in a bad position to try to get the person for a DUI cause there's no way to be able to tell what their blood alcohol level was at the time of driving unless they can pinpoint the time of driving as the time they stopped the vehicle in that parking lot in our example.
But what they might get him for is drunk in public. So, if a person has a high blood alcohol level, for example, double the legal limit and even though they're outside their car in a parking lot, they're in public, so depending on what they did and what the circumstances are, the prosecutors might say, we'll we're going to get this person drunk in public. We can't get him for a DUI, so we'll at least get him for something.
Prosecutors Unable to Prove a DUI
Other times I've seen people get arrested for DUIs or drunk in public charges and the prosecutors look at the case and go, yeah we're not going to mess with this case. The person wasn't that intoxicated or sometimes if the person is just caught drunk in public the police don't do anything to confirm what their blood alcohol level was, so the prosecutors might have a difficult time proving the person was drunk in public.
What does that really mean? First, he could've just been acting like a jerk in public and not been drunk. So, they've got to have some sort of basis to be able to prove that the person consumed a huge amount of alcohol and is intoxicated to the point where they can't really control themselves and the police have to step in for their own safety and for the safety of the public, take that person into custody.
Most of these drunk in public arrests end in no charges because the police were really just trying to get that person sobered up for their own good taking them off the street and for the good of the public and they end up not filing.
Even the police themselves can make a determination that they're going to hold the person for a period of time and then just let him go and not end up sending the case to the City Attorney or the District Attorney for prosecution.
Can I Get My DUI Reduced to Drunk in Public?
So, if you've got a drunk in public charge and they do file it, you need an attorney, you'll at least have a fighting chance to be able to get either the case dismissed or some innocuous charge, which is not a misdemeanor, but is instead some sort of an infraction.
So that you can avoid that criminal conviction and avoid the criminal punishment that can sometimes come along with a drunk in public and also, nobody wants a drunk in public on their criminal record because it's really a negative statement about you as a person and it would certainly stigmatize you in trying to get a job in the future if your viewed as a drunk because of a drunk in public charge on your criminal record.
We really work hard to avoid those type of charges even though you'd much rather have a drunk in public charge than a DUI charge, because a DUI charge is much more serious, much more difficult to get off your criminal record and it comes with a much higher punishment than a drunk in public charge.
So, if you've got one of these charges and you need help, pick up the phone. Make the call now. We stand ready to help you.