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Why Public Intoxication is Not a Laughing Matter

You smartly chose not to drive when you decided to go out one night with friends. The night will involve bar hopping, laughter, and celebration. After already making a few stops and heading to the next location, you realize that maybe your alcohol consumption combined with the fun experience might not be a great idea. Public intoxication is often joked about and seen as funny by some but when faced with a substantial fine, things will certainly appear more serious. You need an exceptional Philadelphia public intoxication attorney to help defend your dream night of joy into an embarrassing nightmare.

What is Public Intoxication?

The guidelines on defining public intoxication are clearly stated under the Pennsylvania law. Being under the influence of alcohol while located in a public area are the two main requirements to establish public intoxication. However, often whether the person created a disturbance, annoyance, or endangered the well-being of himself or others in his surrounding is also considered. The disturbance issue is often considered as a factor in determining guilt but it is not on its own a legal criminal offense. To determine whether a person is guilty of public intoxication, it must be shown that the person was under the influence of alcohol in a public place. This applies to someone under the influence of illegal prescription drugs.

What Must be Proven to Show Public Intoxication?

There must be proof that you were personally observed by an officer under the influence of alcohol in public. Heading out of a bar a little to gregariously could catch the eye of an officer. It is the job of your attorney to present defenses to counter the claim you were under the influence or acting like you were under the influence. An overly excited bridesmaid may just be joyful and boisterous rather than drunk. The public place requirement means you must be under the influence in an area that grants public access. An attorney will consider all affirmative defenses to refute your charge of public intoxication. It is their duty to also research and provide any evidence that may disprove an element of the crime. For example, an officer may observe you in a private place and request you come out to a public area. You cannot be cited for public intoxication because the officer made you enter a public space. Fines for a first offense public intoxication offense can go up to a $1,000. This stiff fine, combined with a mortifying public trial, can have a lasting effect on a person’s reputation.

How Will a Philadelphia Criminal Attorney Help You?

It is a lawyer’s duty to defend your rights and make sure the prosecution proves the elements of the offense. It is the job of the prosecutor to prove you are guilty and the defense must disprove their evidence. Our renowned, experienced lawyers at van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin are dedicated to planning and executing a successful defense. Consult our Philadelphia area criminal defense attorneys, who will use all our resources to give you the best defense and maintain your reputation.