Public Intoxication Laws

Your friendly neighborhood Youngstown OVI lawyer can tell you that public intoxication is a common charge people are cited for. He knows because he gets a lot of clients charged with it.

Public intoxication is also referred to as “disorderly conduct while intoxicated.” The Ohio Revised Code defines it in Chapter 2917.11. The ORC also gives a list of circumstances in which a person who has willingly gotten drunk can find themselves at the receiving end of a public intoxication charge. They are:

  • Creating a condition or behaving in a manner which might potentially be dangerous to someone else or someone else’s property, or could possibly harm someone else or their property.
  • Behaving in such a way, in front of two other people or in public, as to make another person be alarmed or frightened, irritated, offended, or inconvenience, when you would have known had you been sober, that you were doing it.

In addition to the above, failing to stop behaving in the manner you have been after you have been asked to stop will trigger harsher consequences. If you happen to be drunk and disorderly in front of a police officer, state trooper, firefighter, EMT, or at or near a school, you could face worst penalties.

There is no legal blood alcohol content limit for public intoxication. It’s a totally subjective thing based on a person’s behavior. If a cop sees you and you’re stumbling around when trying to walk, or having a hard time maintaining your balance, or slurring your words, he could arrest you for public intoxication.

There are many examples of public intoxication around us, especially on a weekend. The guy at the concert who got so drunk tailgating that he’s now standing on a chair, screaming obscenities at the band? Publicly intoxicated. The guy after the football game who’s darting in and out of traffic in the street, buck naked? Publicly intoxicated. Remember that parade last fall, where the guy climbed up the scaffolding on the bank building? Publicly intoxicated.

Public intoxication is usually prosecuted as a misdemeanor charge. Offenders are fined $150 but face no jail time.

If, however, the offender is someone who did not stop their behavior when asked to do so, the charge becomes a much harsher fourth-degree misdemeanor. In this case, the fine increases to $250 and a 30-day maximum jail sentence is tacked on.

Sometimes, in a public intoxication case, the arresting officer will take the offender to an alcohol treatment program, where he or she will stay for as long as two full days. If the offender wants to leave the program, he or she has to be released.

Other times, a judge may require an offender to complete an inpatient alcohol treatment program. Generally, this is a five-day program and if the offender completes it successfully, his or her charges may be dismissed.

As with any criminal charge, there are non-legal consequences to a public intoxication conviction. You could lose custody of your kids, lose a professional license, and lose or have a hard time getting a job.

Public intoxication charges are difficult to get dropped. Even if you can prove you weren’t drunk, you could still face disorderly conduct charges. In that case, it will be your word against the cop’s, and his word is considered to be more credible in court. This is a big reason for you to not try to fight a charge like this on your own. You will have more success if you hire a Youngstown OVI lawyer to represent you.

Logue Law Group is prepared to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The attorneys at Logue Law Group have had intensive training in DUI defenses, laws, and arrests. They have years of experience defending people charged with DUI and public intoxication, having served hundreds of clients. Call (412) 612-2210 right away for a free initial consultation.

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