Public Intoxication Attorney in West Palm Beach, FL
If you are reading this, you have probably had to find out the hard way that disorderly public intoxication can escalate to a criminal charge in Florida. Facing such charges is as serious as any criminal charge. If convicted, you will be facing jail time and fines. Worse, you will have a criminal record.
Understanding Florida’s intoxication laws can be very helpful when you suddenly find yourself charged with public intoxication. Having a skilled criminal defense lawyer defend you in court is also very important. Contact the Law Offices of Brian M. Carroll for a free consultation on your case.
Florida Public Intoxication Law
In the state of Florida, public intoxication technically is not outlawed. The outlawed act is disorderly intoxication, as contained in Florida Statute § 856.011. Distinguishing between public and disorderly intoxication is vital in determining whether a person has committed a criminal offense.
Public intoxication is simply when a person appears “drunk” in public. However, Florida statute defines disorderly intoxication as the act of endangering the safety of another person or property, causing a disturbance in public places, or behaving in a disorderly manner due to intoxication by an alcoholic beverage.
In other words, disorderly intoxication only occurs when the drunken state of the offender causes them to act in an unruly manner in public. It is best to avoid public intoxication since it can lead to losing control over your mental or physical faculties. However, the distinction between public and disorderly intoxication can be the difference between an acquittal in court and a guilty verdict.
Disorderly intoxication is also a distinct charge from disorderly conduct provided for in Florida Statute § 877.03. As per Florida law, disorderly intoxication charges may arise from behaviors such as engaging in fights, disturbing the peace, or exhibiting violent or tumultuous behavior while intoxicated in public places.
How Disorderly Public Intoxication Charges Work in Florida
When a disorderly public intoxication arrest is made, it is usually on the grounds of exhibiting disruptive behavior due to being intoxicated in public spaces. The prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were intoxicated and that your intoxication caused you to misbehave or endanger other people’s safety.
In the Florida Standard Jury Instructions 29.1, “intoxication” is said to be “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 his or her body or mental facilities, or both.”
Since the offense of disorderly intoxication is not a traffic offense, the police officer cannot simply ask you to take a breathalyzer test to prove intoxication. Instead, the prosecution relies on the police officer and other witnesses’ observation of your behavior. Things like:
- The smell of alcohol
- Staggering or stumbling
- Slurred speech
- Twitching or body tremors
- Making irrational statements
- Behaving unruly and not listening to external checks from others
- Attacking people
- Being loud and unaware
The presence of a combination of these behaviors makes it more likely that a disorderly public intoxication conviction will take place. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to prevent that from happening.
Penalties for Disorderly Intoxication in Florida
Disorderly intoxication in Florida is a misdemeanor of the second degree. This means the maximum term of imprisonment it attracts is 60 days in county jail. It attracts a maximum fine of $500. Courts may allow first offenders to undertake diversion programs and avoid jail time.
Any person who commits the offense three times within 12 months is deemed a habitual offender and may be committed to rehabilitation for not more than 60 days by the court. Also, police officers can exercise their discretion and send offenders to their homes or health facilities instead of incarcerating them.
Finally, a conviction can result in a permanent criminal record, potentially impacting a person’s future opportunities.
How Our Disorderly Public Intoxication Lawyers Can Help You
The following are some of the ways in which a disorderly public intoxication lawyer from our law firm can assist you:
Understanding the Nuances of Disorderly Intoxication
We can explain the charges against you and your legal options. Through proper legal guidance and advice, we can help you truly understand your situation, your choices, and how to move forward with your case.
Crafting a Customized Defense Strategy
No two disorderly public intoxication cases are the same. As such, we delve deep into the specifics of your situation, analyzing all the events leading to the charge. Our team tailors a defense strategy unique to your case.
Whether it involves challenging the evidence, questioning police procedures, or presenting mitigating circumstances, we ensure you have the proper defense to secure a favorable outcome.
Navigating Alternative Sentencing Options
In some instances, especially for first-time offenders, there might be opportunities for alternative sentencing, such as diversion programs, counseling, or community service. We have extensive experience in negotiating these options.
Protecting Your Record and Future Opportunities
Upon being arrested, the police might try to convince you to plead guilty to resolve the case faster. However, a guilty plea and subsequent conviction can have lasting consequences on your life since your criminal record is publicly available in Florida.
We provide sound legal advice to protect your future. We also do our utmost best to get your disorderly public intoxication case dismissed. Our aim is not just to resolve your immediate legal issue but also to safeguard your long-term prospects.
Compassionate Support and Guidance
Legal challenges can be emotionally draining. We offer more than just legal assistance; we provide compassionate support throughout the process. Our team is here to listen, understand your concerns, and offer guidance. You’re not alone in this journey – we stand with you every step of the way.
Remember, facing disorderly public intoxication charges can be overwhelming, but having a knowledgeable and dedicated defense attorney in your corner can make all the difference.
Get Experienced Criminal Defense at the Law Offices of Brian M. Carroll P.A.
Facing disorderly intoxication charges can be overwhelming, but with our dedicated legal support, you can navigate these challenges successfully. We can also help you with DUI and traffic defense or other related scenarios.
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you or someone you love is facing public intoxication charges in West Palm Beach, Florida. We are committed to helping you move past this legal hurdle. Contact us today for a confidential and free first consultation.