You may have heard that public drunkenness is illegal, but this sounds somewhat confusing. Aren’t people drunk in public quite frequently? What about people who are leaving a sporting event or a concert? They’ve clearly been consuming alcohol, but it’s not illegal for them to simply walk around downtown after the event.
The trouble comes not just when you’re intoxicated in public, but when you’re accused of doing something that is classified as disorderly conduct. In other words, being drunk itself isn’t illegal, but if that intoxication leads you to act in a disorderly manner, then you could be arrested.
Examples of disorderly behavior
Disorderly behavior can take a lot of different forms, and a few examples are listed below:
- Getting involved in a physical altercation or fight
- Taunting or threatening someone else
- Making an unreasonable amount of noise
- Making offensive comments or gestures
- Hindering someone else’s ability to use a sidewalk or a road
The police have a lot of leeway to decide exactly why they are arresting you in a situation like this, but it comes down to the fact that you’re not allowed to do things that are offensive or dangerous to other people just because you’re intoxicated. This could be as simple as being too loud late at night when people are trying to sleep or as serious as getting involved in a fight outside of the local bar. But you need to know that you could be arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct.
If this does happen to you, you don’t want it to define the rest of your life, so be sure you know about all of your legal defense options.