In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, people often engage in drinking at social events such as bars, dance clubs, frat parties, sporting events etc. While these events can be entertaining and enjoyable, in some situations individuals tend become unruly to the point where they behave intoxicated in areas that they are not legally permitted to. Unfortunately when situations like this occur, these individuals are likely to be arrested and charged with public drunkenness. It is essential that any individual that is charged with this crime obtain an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to ensure that the best outcome possible occurs.
Public Drunkenness in PA
Under 18 Pa. C.S. § 5505 an individual will be found guilty of public drunkenness if he/she appears to be under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance in a public place to the extent that they would likely endanger themselves or another member of the public. Unlike a DUI, the arresting officer does NOT have to conduct a field sobriety test or blood test in order to make the arrest. A public drunkenness arrest only has to be based upon the officer’s observations at the time of the arrest.
Public Drunkenness is considered a summary offense and that carries with it potential penalties of up to $500 for the first offense and up to $1,000 for subsequent offenses.
Common Defenses for Public Drunkenness in PA
As with any criminal matter, defense strategies are always based upon the specific facts and circumstances of the specific case. In most public drunkenness cases, an experienced attorney will often see:
- Whether or not the individual was actually in a public space at the time of his/her arrest
- whether or not the individual posed a danger to his/herself
- whether or not the individual posed an endanger or annoyance to any member of the public
Generally defense strategies rest heavily the time, location, and type of event that surrounded the public drunkenness charge. Witnesses are a critical factor in determining whether or not the individual appeared to be intoxicated and/or a threat to members of the public or themselves. Moreover the arresting officer MUST testify on his/her observations of the individual’s behavior that led the officer to make the arrest.
Arrested for Public Drunkenness?
If you or someone you know has been charged with public drunkenness, The Law Office of Vincent J. Caputo is ready to help you through this process. We understand that this charge can often be difficult for the individual involved and that is why we will work with you every step of the way in achieving the best outcome possible. Contact our office for a free consultation today, your future is our priority!