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What is Public Intoxication?

Many people make the mistake of consuming “one too many” drinks and find themselves in a position where they do not behave as they would when entirely sober. Frequently individuals are issued charges of public intoxication at bars, concerts, sporting events, and more. That said, despite this seeming like a rather “minor” charge, the truth is, upon conviction, you can face a wide range of penalties. Please continue reading and speak with a knowledgeable Red Bluff criminal lawyer from Cohen Criminal Law to learn more about these charges and how our legal team can defend you from them. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What constitutes a charge of public intoxication in California?

To face these charges, the arresting officer will have to determine that:

  • You were under the influence of a controlled substance, such as a drug or alcohol
  • You were unable to care for yourself or others, potentially even posing a risk to others

You should note that you can also face these charges if you’re determined to have obstructed the free use of public streets or walkways while under the influence of a controlled substance.

What are the consequences of a conviction for public intoxication?

If you are convicted of these charges, you can face a wide range of penalties. To start, for a misdemeanor public intoxication charge, you’ll likely face a $1,000 fine. From there, depending on the circumstances of your charge, you’ll likely face up to one year in the county jail. Rather obviously, both of these are frightening prospects, which is why if you’re currently facing these charges, you’d be best served with a competent criminal defense lawyer in your corner.

Are there any potential defenses against these charges?

Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, there is a wide range of potential defenses we can use. Just some of the most common defenses against these charges are as follows:

  • There was not enough evidence to prove that you were truly intoxicated
  • The arresting officer violated your civil rights in some way
  • You were intoxicated, but you technically were not on public property

If you have any additional questions about these charges or you need a seasoned legal representative to shield you from them, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Cohen Criminal Law for help.


Attorney Cohen has fought on behalf of those charged with crimes and traffic violations for over 30 years, and he is ready to fight for you, too. Contact Cohen Criminal Law today to schedule your free initial consultation with our firm.