California Penal Code (PC) section 647(f) states that any person “Who is found in any public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, controlled substance, or toluene, in a condition that he or she is unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or the safety of others, or by reason of his or her being under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, or toluene, interferes with or obstructs or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way” is guilty of Public Intoxication. California Vehicle Code Section 13202.5 states that when any person under 21 years old is convicted of violating PC 647(f) “the court shall suspend the person’s driving privilege for one year.” Research the Law
CONSIDER FIGHTING YOUR CASE
All crimes have elements. If you are charged with being Drunk in Public under PC 647(f), the District Attorney must be able to prove two things. First, that you were “in a public place,” or a place open to the public; and second, that you were so intoxicated that you were “unable to care for yourself.” Depending upon the facts of your case, you might be not guilty of the charges, despite what the officer who arrested you says. Never plead guilty or no contest without first seeing the police report, any breath, blood or urine results, and any other evidence the Government intends to use against you.
STAY OUT OF JAIL
If you are convicted of being Drunk in Public you could spend up to six months in Jail for a first offense. Judges will usually put you on Probation for a period of time (two to three years), and will not put you in jail for the entire six months, but you could be ordered to spend some time in jail as a condition of probation. When you are on probation you will face severe restrictions on your rights and liberties, and the Court will make you pay fines and fees. You could also be ordered to do community service or go to alcohol treatment programs. If you are on Probation and violate any of the terms of your probation, the Judge can put you in jail for up to six months.
DON’T LOSE YOUR LICENSE TO DRIVE
If you are under 21 years old and you plead guilty or “no contest,” or if you are convicted of being Drunk in Public, you will lose your license to drive for one year. The Court will send proof of your conviction to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and they will suspend your license and then make it very difficult to get a Critical Need Restricted License. It will not matter to the DMV if you have to drive to school, work, or both. Your only hope may be to petition the Court for a restricted license.
PROTECT YOUR DMV RECORD
In addition to losing your license for one year, the conviction on your record can be used against you in the future if you are charged with another alcohol offense, or any other offense that affects your license to drive. You may also face substantial increases in the cost of your vehicle insurance because of the conviction and you could be denied certain jobs or licenses. Understanding the full consequences of what happens in your case includes what happens to your driving record at DMV after Court is over.
COURT TRIALS VERSUS JURY TRIALS
If you do not want to plead “Guilty” or “No Contest” you have the right to a trial. If you are charged with an infraction, you have the right to a Court Trial and that means that a Judge hears the evidence and decides if you are guilty, not a Jury. If you are charged with a misdemeanor you have the right to a Jury Trial where twelve people from the community hear the evidence and decide the facts. In any trial you have the right to see, hear, and challenge all of the evidence the State has against you.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
There are too many bad consequences to a Public Intoxication conviction to make mistakes in Court. You should fully understand your Rights, the evidence against you, and your options when you are charged with being Drunk in Public or any other crime. I can help you through the Court process and give you the pros and cons of fighting your case, and at worst I can petition the Court to grant you a restricted license if necessary. In most cases you will never have to go to court; we can make all court appearances for you. Call use today at (530) 898-1111 and schedule a free consultation.
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