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Charged with public intoxication? Here's what you need to know.

Imagine having a Friday night out with your friends. One of them drew the short straw and had to be the designated driver for the night. You were free to drink as much as you wanted. Only things did not work out the way you intended. During the drive home, a police officer pulled over your friend's vehicle. The next thing you knew, your friend was in the back seat of a squad car and the police were arresting you for public intoxication.

In Texas, this scenario is a very real possibility. If you are attending a sporting event, a party, or a county fair and you are drinking, the police can charge with you public intoxication. In general, these laws are in place to keep people from causing a public disturbance and possibly harming themselves or others. If you have received a public intoxication charge, you have the right to fight it. An Arlington criminal defense attorney can help you protect your rights. Read further for information on public intoxication charges.

The basics

A public intoxication charge usually results from specific circumstances. In general, you must seem to be drunk in public in order for the police to charge you. For example, if you are stumbling down Deep Ellum singing your favorite song as loud as you can, the police may decide that you are intoxicated and they will issue the charge.

In order for a law enforcement officer to charge an individual with public intoxication, the person in question only has to appear drunk or intoxicated. The way you act during the time of the charge will play heavily on whether or not the court convicts you.

Possible defenses

Fortunately, there are many defenses available that may save you from a conviction. For example, you might successfully claim that you were not actually drunk or acting disorderly. Perhaps the Dallas Mavericks had just won the Western Conference and were heading to the Finals. You were simply celebrating their victory, along with half of North Texas.

Another defense is that you received the citation while you were in a private area. Maybe you were attending a friend's party and the police broke it up and issued citations to people for public intoxication while they were still inside the house.

You have rights

If you have received a citation for public drunk and disorderly conduct, you have the right to argue against the charges. Do not let charges like this affect your future career prospects or ability to get a new apartment. Criminal charges, even minor ones, can have lasting effects.

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