With alcohol and drugs involved in nearly 80% of all crimes people are arrested for, public intoxication laws use those numbers as a reason to arrest people. While the correlation isn’t irrelevant, it’s given more value than it may deserve. Many of the people arrested for public intoxication are otherwise law-abiding citizens who may have had one too many drinks.
The safest thing to do when you’re drinking is to take a cab. The next best thing is taking public transportation or walking with friends to your next destination. However, along the way, you could be arrested by police who are out prowling for people who have been drinking.
If you’re arrested for public intoxication, you might be able to avoid steep fines or a mark on your record. If you end up being charged with public intoxication, follow these 3 steps.
1. Keep Your Paperwork
If you’re arrested, you should get a ticket, intake forms, and paperwork regarding your discharge. If your arresting officer made a simple mistake or arrested you without just cause, you could get the ticket overturned.
While the night you spend in jail can be upsetting or traumatizing, try to keep your head on straight. Hold on to everything, pray that you kept your mouth shut while you were drunk, and hand it all over to your lawyer.
2. Call Your Lawyer
Speaking of which, it’s time to find representation. While any lawyer should be able to adequately interpret the law and ensure you get the charges overturned, there are attorneys who specialize in these laws.
If your lawyer gives you any advice, listen to them. If you won’t be able to get out of the charge, you could lessen the damage by taking a recovery course.
So long as you didn’t commit vandalism or any other crimes, you should be able to lower the charge or avoid the fine.
3. Witnesses Help
If you’re friends with the bartender or bouncer at a bar you visited that night, see if they’ll give testimony for you. They’re resident experts on knowing when someone is drunk and dangerous.
If they’re your bartender, they’re obligated to know how much you’ve had to drink. While they might not have counted every drink, they know the difference between serving someone 2 or 3 drinks and serving them 9 or 10. Even better, they might have access to the tab you ran up.
If you have witnesses saying you only had 3 drinks and show up with the receipt to prove it, you could blame it on any medication you took or dinner you didn’t eat.
Being Arrested For Public Intoxication Is Upsetting
However, it’s not the end of the world. There are many ways to recover after being arrested for public intoxication, both financially and legally. You might be able to get the charge removed from your arrest record if you ingratiate yourself to the courts and show that you want to drink more responsibly.
If you needed to post bail for yourself or a loved one, check out our guide to how the bail system works.