What are the Elements of a Public Intoxication Charge?
Public intoxication is considered a criminal offense in many cases, and there are several elements that must exist for the prosecution to successfully secure a conviction in this type of case. Here are the main elements of a public intoxication crime:
- Being in public: For an incident to qualify as public intoxication, the person in question must have actually been in a public space at the time, and not a private residence or other area not open to the general public. However, public intoxication charges can be handed out in cases in which the defendant is on private property but without the owner’s permission.
- Under the influence: The person in the public space must also be intoxicated, or under the influence of drugs, alcohol or another controlled substance or intoxicant. If the person’s behavior is not due to the use of any intoxicant, then they cannot be convicted on a public intoxication charge. They would likely instead face some form of disorderly conduct citation.
- Endangerment or annoyance: The person in question must be intoxicated to the degree that he may endanger himself or other persons or property, or annoy persons in his vicinity. The definition of what actually qualifies as endangerment or annoyance can be rather broad and gives prosecutors a lot of leeway.
For more information about public intoxication charges and the various defenses you have against them, contact experienced Berks County, PA criminal defense attorney David R. Eshelman.