What to do if You are Charged With Public Drunkenness This Summer

Throughout the summer it is normal for people to attend multiple parties and social gatherings that involve drinking. While there is nothing illegal about an adult over the age of 21 consuming alcohol in acceptable locations, drinking in excess could cost you dearly. In the state of Georgia, public intoxication, also referred to as public drunkenness, is taken very seriously.

Not only can it increase your penalties if you are charged with other crimes such as assault or obstruction, the crime can also cause any situation to quickly escalate, potentially leading to legal problems that could haunt you for years. Before you go to a summer party take time to learn what you should do if you find yourself charged with public drunkenness.

What is Considered Public Drunkenness?

In the state of Georgia, it is illegal for any individual to be intoxicated in a public place. This law exists because the state considers people who are intoxicated in public to be a potential danger to those around them and disruptive to any peaceful environment.

Property that is considered “private” such as the area around a private home is usually considered safe to drink in. However, if you were not invited to the property, if you damaged the property, or if you were asked to leave at some point, you could still find yourself facing a charge of public drunkenness even though you were on private property.


Public drunkenness is a potentially serious crime with major consequences. The charge is a misdemeanor that could stay on your criminal record, making it hard to find employment, rent property in certain areas, or establish or maintain the custody of children if you are going through a divorce.

In addition to having to deal with a misdemeanor on your record, you could be fined up to $1,000 and be incarcerated for up to one year.

Possible Defense

One issue with the public intoxication in Georgia is that you could find yourself accused of the crime even if you are not actually drunk. The police usually determine whether or not to charge you based on your behavior.  Certain things such as being loud or boisterous, using excessive profane language, and behaving in a vulgar or indecent manner could all be used by the police as an excuse to arrest you for public drunkenness.

While that behavior could indicate intoxication, it is possible for someone to be completely sober and still be boisterous and vulgar in public, especially if they are upset.  

Contact an Attorney

Being sober is just one of the potential public drunkenness defenses that an attorney representing you may use. Even if that argument is not available, there are other ways a skilled member of the Yeargan & Kert may successfully defend you in court. Our legal team works to reduce or dismiss the charges against you whenever possible.

If you or a loved one has been charged with public intoxication in Georgia, call us today at 404-467-1747 to schedule a consultation so that we can discuss your case with you.