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Maryland Public Intoxication Attorney

Public intoxication is basically exactly what it sounds like. Public intoxication has nothing to do with how much you have been drinking or how drunk you may be; it is quite literally being intoxicated in public.

The offense is basically made up of two parts. The first part is that it must be in public, meaning you have to be in a public place. The second part is that you are endangering the safety of persons or property, which is causing some form of public disturbance. That is a very important side of this. It has to be something that involves the greater public good, whether it is a safety risk to you or other people.

Being drunk in public is a misdemeanor and the penalty can include fines up to $100 and 90 days in jail, or both. That is simply for public drinking. In terms of the defenses against this charge, you can argue that number one, it is not a public place; number two, you were not intoxicated; and number three, that there was no disturbance and no actual or potential harm for anyone, including yourself.

Here is information on disorderly conduct.

Public Intoxication Charges

Public intoxication is typically charged as a misdemeanor. It basically means that you are under the influence of alcohol or some type of controlled substance. It is charged by an officer at a location that is public. That includes sidewalks and streets, even if they are directly in front of your home. If you are standing on the sidewalk, that is actually a public arena, so that would count. Most often, I see people charged in local stadiums when they are attending a sporting event like a Ravens game or an Orioles game. Those are places where you have a very public venue, you have a lot of people, and you have a lot of alcohol.

Common Scenarios in Public Intoxication Cases

The most common scenarios include some form of disturbance. More often than not, I deal with public intoxication charges involving disturbing the peace, for example if there is loud noise. That is a situation where the officers can write multiple citations. Disturbance is a broad term; it can include disturbance as in noise, blocking traffic, standing in the street, or otherwise creating some form of nuisance. It basically gives the officers the ability to cite you and arrest you on the spot. It has nothing to do with them being able to conduct some form of chemical test or blood alcohol test. It is very rare that they would use that in public. It is more about behavior that could appear to be a sufficient amount of evidence to show intoxication.

What are the penalties associated with a conviction?

In Maryland, that will depend on exactly what the charges are and whether it is simply public intoxication or whether it is mixed in with any other charges such as disturbing the peace or loud noise. If you are told to quiet down but you don’t do so, at thatpoint you could be facing charges that could include failing to obey a lawful order. The possibilities spread out from there. If it is just public intoxication, under the Maryland Code that sentence could include up to a $100 fine, up to 90 days in jail, or both.

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