If you’ve been arrested for Public Intoxication in Pinellas County, all is not lost just yet. Every weekend we see dozens of people arrested for petty reasons, such as someone finding their drunk behavior annoying. But for a conviction, the state must prove you endangered or disturbed the public.
If you’ve been arrested, you have a chance to fight it. Our Pinellas County public intoxication lawyers can fight fast on your behalf, to clear your name. We welcome you to a free consultation today.
What is Public Intoxication in Pinellas County?
Public intoxication, also referred to as ‘Disorderly Intoxication, is a crime where an intoxicated person endangers public safety or causes a public disturbance.
It is a second-degree misdemeanor, which can bring jail time, fines and probation. If convicted, you will also face a future with a criminal record that can severely impact your access to housing, jobs, insurance and education.
What Evidence is Required to Convict a Public Intoxication Crime?
To prove someone has committed the crime of public intoxication at a trial in Pinellas County, the state must prove the following beyond ‘a reasonable doubt’:
- The person was intoxicated, and that they endangered the safety of the public or property;
- The person was intoxicated or drank alcohol within a public place and then caused a public disturbance.
Steps to Beat a Public Intoxication Charge in Pinellas County
Do Not Self-Incriminate
Do not plead guilty, or admit fault to law enforcement. You should not lie, but you are allowed to simply remain silent or say ‘no comment’ when questioned. You can also say that you don’t want to talk to anyone until you have spoken to your criminal defense lawyer.
If you admit fault at this point, it is extremely hard to fight the crime. And plus, even if you think you were doing something wrong, the legal reality may be different from what you thought it was in a drunken condition.
Do Not Make Social Media Statements
We also urge you to refrain from making any statements on social media about the arrest. No one needs to know about your incident. Anything you post online could be used against you. It is very common these days for police officers to search online for evidence.
Try to Remember What Happened
Next, you should try to recall what actually happened.
- Where were you?
- How many drinks did you have?
- Did you take any medication?
- Who were you with?
- What did you do?
- Were you provoked?
- What did the police officer say to you?
- What did the police officer instruct you to do or not do?
Contact a Pinellas County Criminal Defense Lawyer ASAP
We urge you to contact a Pinellas County Intoxication Defense lawyer immediately for your defense. This is not a situation you want to take chances with, as a criminal record can haunt you for decades.
Our criminal defense lawyers welcome you to a free consultation today. We can quickly review your case and take swift action to get your case dropped or penalties reduced.
Potential Defenses for Public Intoxication in Pinellas County
First Amendment Rights
You cannot be deprived of your free speech rights just because you are intoxicated.
Therefore, if the case rests on words you said (while drunk) then it may be able to get thrown out. Exceptions are made for threats or ‘fighting words’ such as shouting ‘FIRE’ in a public space when there isn’t a fire (State v. Saunders, 339 So. 2d 641 – Fla. 1976).
You Weren’t in a Public Place
A public intoxication case must occur in public. If actually, you were acting disorderly in a private place, then the case can be thrown out.
In Florida, a public place is a location where the general public has the right to be; such as a park, grocery store, beach or bar.
If you were standing on your private property though, such as your porch or in your yard, then a conviction won’t stand (Royster v. State, 643 So. 2d 61 (Fla. 1st DCA 1994).
You Weren’t Endangering the Public
The Florida Supreme caught requires that the state must prove that you endangered the public.
Therefore, if you were just being rowdy and acting like a ‘drunk’ without endangering anyone, or causing a public disturbance, then you may be fine. It is not usually enough that someone is merely irritated by your drunken presence. You are legally allowed to be drunk, after all.
However, if you were walking in the road or threatening people, then they may be able to prove a disturbance or danger to the public.
Profanity and Loudness are Not Enough to Convict
Similarly, many people may call the police when they see a drunk person cursing or shouting. This is common in bars or restaurants, for example, where the owner loses their patience.
But that behavior alone is not sufficient grounds to sustain convection. For example, in the past Florida courts reversed a conviction where a man talked loudly, cursed and flapped his arms around (Ivey v. State, 779 So. 2d 662 (Fla. 1st DCA 2001).
Our Case Examples
Our criminal defense team regularly helps people who have been unfairly arrested for Public Intoxication in Pinellas County clear their names. For example:
Our client was on vacation with his wife at St. Pete Beach, from out-of-state. He got very drunk at a bar and then continued drinking at his Hotel. The staff became concerned about his condition and called the Sheriff’s Office. He was arrested for disorderly intoxication.
After receiving his call, we quickly sent a letter to the prosecutor explaining the circumstances, explaining there was no public danger posed. We also suggested our client would consider alcohol treatment.
Three weeks later, the charges were dropped with the option to expunge his record. Our client was a very happy man!
Public Intoxication Defense Attorney in Pinellas County, FL
If you’ve been incorrectly or unlawfully arrested for public intoxication in Pinellas County, Florida then please contact our criminal defense lawyers today for a quick response.
Our Pinellas County criminal defense attorneys at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., are part of one of Tampa Bay’s most prestigious law firms. We have the reputation and connections to make things happen.
Contact us today for a free consultation to get started or CALL (727) 381-2300