Disorderly Intoxication is often a go-to statute for law enforcement officers when they respond to a public disturbance. It is a crime often charged at or around bars and other establishments that serve alcohol. It is a broad statute that allows officers to make arrests in a wide array of circumstances, but it is also a statute that allows criminal defense attorneys to file motions to dismiss based on improper arrests.
- You were intoxicated, and
- you endangered the safety of another person or property,
- You were intoxicated or drank any alcoholic beverage in a public place or in or upon a public conveyance, and
- you caused a public disturbance.
Intoxication means drunk.
"Intoxication" means more than merely being under the influence of an alcoholic beverage. Intoxication means that the defendant must have been so affected from the drinking of an alcoholic beverage as to have lost or been deprived of the normal control of either your body or your mental faculties, or both. Intoxication is synonymous with "drunk."
Maybe. Because you have freedom of speech, you cannot be convicted for disorderly intoxication for simply being intoxicated and saying things that people don't want to hear. The State must prove that you engaged in a public disturbance. The public disturbance must endanger the public safety. That is where it gets gray. Is the public safety endangered if you yell out "fire" in a crowded restaurant when you are intoxicated. Maybe. It certainly could cause hysteria and injury if people took it seriously and started running for the doors. This would be a question first answered by a judge (after your criminal lawyer files a motion to dismiss) and then, if the judge denied the motion to dismiss, by the jury.
A "public place" is a place where the public has a right to be and to go. So, you cannot be convicted for disorderly conduct if you are in your own home, someone else's home, or any other private place.
Disorderly Intoxication is a Second Degree Misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail.
The most common defenses to Disorderly Intoxication are that you were not intoxicated, did not endanger people or property, or in the case of a public place, you did not cause a public disturbance. This law is very broad and arguably encompasses some conduct and speech protected by the Constitution. There also may be pretrial diversion or negotiation options available that provide for the State dropping the charges and you being able to expunge your record. Give us a call to discuss the possible options in your Disorderly Intoxication case.
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