Public intoxication is one charge you definitely do not want on your record. Like a DUI, it stays on your record for life and has a definite negative stigma attached to it. However, despite the risk, many individuals still are unsure about what exactly constitutes public intoxication and what the penalties are under Maryland law. Make sure you understand the issue thoroughly so that you know how to prevent being charged and understand what to do if you are.
What are public intoxication charges?
In the state of Maryland, the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in public. An individual charged with public intoxication can receive a fine of up to $100 dollars, mandatory jail time up to 90 days, or both. Since this crime is classified as a misdemeanor, it will by default stay on your record forever except in cases of a successful court petition for expungement.
The levelof intoxication (e.g. amount of alcohol someone’s had to drink) is less important in these cases than an individual’s behavior. A public intoxication charge usually occurs when there’s been a public disturbance of someone posing a safety risk to themselves or others. Cases of public intoxication often happen at sporting events, since arenas hold high numbers of people, sell alcoholic beverages, and inspire intense emotions.
Mayland also fines up to $100 or higher for open containers of alcohol in public and $25 for open containers of alcohol in cars.
How do I avoid a public intoxication charge?
If you choose to drink, remain in your home, backyard, friend’s home, or the bar. Intoxication is allowed on private property where you are the owner or the owner is allowing consumption of alcohol to occur. Stay in these locations; don’t step onto the street—even your sidewalk is not technically yours.
Ensure that you don’t cause problems or disturbances, and if a police officer does confront you, don’t admit to being drunk. These statements go in police reports and can later be pointed to in court as an admission of guilt on your part.
Should I get a lawyer?
Because public intoxication is a misdemeanor, it by default stays on your criminal record forever and can be looked up by future employers or colleagues. Because of the negative stigma associated with this charge, you want to give yourself the best chances possible for a good outcome in court.
The Law Office of C. Gregory Coburn has more than 30 years of experience providing criminal defense in Ocean City, MD and the surrounding area. We know how these cases are handled locally and we know how to build a case that works for you. Our highly-qualified criminal defense attorney is an expert at fighting in court to secure you the best possible outcome.
Contact us today for a free consultation.