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Levitt & Levitt | Because Experience Counts
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When might there be an arrest for public intoxication?

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2021 | Public Intoxication

When there is an intoxication-related arrest in Tennessee, people will often link it to driving under the influence. However, there can also be an arrest for simply being intoxicated in public. Certain elements must be in place for a person to be charged with public intoxication. Anyone can find themselves confronted with this issue; understanding the reason for the arrest is a fundamental part of crafting an effective defense.

Keys to being charged with public intoxication

Law enforcement must have three elements in place when they make an arrest for public intoxication. The person must have been under the influence of an intoxicating substance like alcohol or drugs; he or she must have created a disturbance, harmed him/herself or someone else during the incident and it must have happened in a public location. It is important to note that being legally drunk is not necessary to warrant charges. The key is behaving in a manner consistent with drunkenness. That can include a person being unable to care for him or herself, acting out of control or threatening others’ safety.

It can be difficult to determine exactly what constitutes creating a “disturbance.” Still, simply bothering others and acting disruptively could be sufficient. Being in a public place might seem relatively self-explanatory, but there is nuance involved. It largely depends on police interpretation of criminal law and the circumstances of the events that led to an investigation.

Avoiding consequences of public intoxication may require professional advice

Public intoxication charges differ from DUI cases and should be defended against in a way that addresses the specific allegations. While there might not be serious penalties, it can still be problematic personally, professionally and financially. To accurately assess these charges and forge an effective defense, it may be useful to have experienced guidance from an attorney.

State Bar of Georgia
TBA | Tennessee Bar Association
CBA | Chattanooga Bar Association

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