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Seth Okin on What to Do in a Public Intoxication Case

Criminal Defense Attorney Seth Okin Discusses Public Intoxication Cases

The following blog is excerpted from a transcription of an interview with attorney Seth Okin in which he discusses public intoxication charges in Maryland.

What should someone do if they are facing public intoxication charges?

Seth Okin: The number one thing you want to do is to find an attorney. You want someone who can represent you and who can fight for your record. You don’t want that stigma of a conviction or public intoxication on your record. You don’t want it to be something that people can look up. You don’t want an employer finding out about that and then having to decide whether they want to keep you or not. That is very important. Also, it could come up if you are applying for a certain type of job, for example if you are a commercial driver or if you work in the public sector. Certain employers don’t really care; some of them might understand that you simply had too much of a good time. Others actually do care, so you do not want that stigma on your record that you are a drunk. It might not be on the same line as DUI or DWI but it still does not look good.

Why is it important to hire an attorney in a public intoxication case?

Seth Okin: It is important in order to avoid having the mark on your record. A conviction is a conviction. Even if probation before judgment is entered, it takes three years for that to be expunged, so it can sit on there. If you are applying for a job, that might pop right up.

Why shouldn’t an individual represent themselves for a public intoxication case?

Seth Okin: The bottom line is that if you are not an attorney, you don’t know the rules in evidence and you don’t know the code. You don’t know Chapter 19, how it works, or the legislative intent of the law itself. You’re going to go in there and simply say, “I wasn’t drunk, prove it.” They may introduce evidence that does prove the charge against you. You might try to introduce something but you introduce the wrong thing. You don’t know how to make a motion or introduce that. There are so many methods that an attorney is taught to use. That is why we spend three years in law school.

What are common mistakes that individuals make when facing this charge?

Seth Okin: The number one mistake is always when people admit to the officer that they are drunk. That appears in police reports more often than I can count. That really is the number one thing. People also make mistakes involving where their property line is. They could be standing on the sidewalk or on the curb and even though they are in front of their home, that is exactly where they should not be.

How can people avoid making these mistakes?

Seth Okin: Stay in your home or stay in your yard. After going out to have a couple of drinks or having a couple of drinks too many, the safest thing you can do is just stay home. Don’t walk out front, don’t touch your keys, and definitely don’t get in your car because every step you take out of the front door is a step towards a bad decision.

Seth Okin is an aggressive criminal defense attorney who represents clients charged in Maryland. Call his Maryland law office to schedule a free consultation at (410) 782-0742.