Atlanta Public Drunkenness Lawyer
You were having a good time outside with friends and/or family when police accused you of drinking or being drunk in public. Now you face a public drunkenness charge in Atlanta, Georgia and you are worried about what will happen next.
Maybe you were not accused of being drunk in public. Instead, your teenage or adult child was accused of public drunkenness. Now you are looking for information to help them avoid the harsh consequences of a public drunkenness conviction. Yeargan & Kert, LLC has the Atlanta DUI lawyers you need to protect their future.
Public Drunkenness in Atlanta
According to Georgia’s 16-11-41 statute, it is illegal for anyone to be intoxicated in public. The term “public drunkenness” describes how you appear to be intoxicated in a public place. The appearance of being publicly drunk places people in danger and threatens the peace of the environment.
You are considered drunk if you have a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of 0.08 percent or higher.
The Elements of Public Drunkenness Prosecutors need to Prove to Convict You of the Crime
Georgia law requires state prosecutors to prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. To prove you are guilty, the state must use evidence to support the elements of the crime. These public drunkenness elements include:
- You appeared to be intoxicated at the time of your arrest
- You were in a public place or a private residence
- You were an uninvited guest around the person
- You displayed a characteristic like boisterous behavior, vulgar language or loud language
You can be Sober and be Charged in Atlanta based on the Certain Characteristics
Police will base their opinion on whether you appear intoxicated based on certain characteristics. For instance, the police may think you were intoxicated because you made a lewd gesture or used vulgar language while talking to the police. It does not have to be true but based on a police officer’s perception.
Common Defenses to Public Drunkenness in Atlanta
You may be thinking how are you going to prove your innocence in a public drunkenness charge. You have options. For instance, you can plead guilty or try to get a plea deal to avoid some of the harsh consequences of public drunkenness. You can also fight the criminal charge in a defense strategy.
A defense strategy is a way to fight a public drunkenness charge. A defense strategy involves either having a justification to why you allegedly committed the crime, pleading complete innocence or attacking the elements of the charge. The latter is the defense of trying to weaken the state’s case by attacking one or more element like being drunk in public. You have several defense options to choose to make your defense strategy.
Some defense strategies include:
- You were not intoxicated. In Georgia, as mentioned before, you have to be legally drunk. To be legally drunk is to have the blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, level of at least 0.08 percent. It could be higher. The police will not automatically know that your BAC just by looking at you.
- You may argue that you were not intoxicated at the time of your arrest. You may have been drinking. You may have taken medication that made you appear that you were intoxicated. However, you were not drunk in public. Your lawyer will have to attack the testimony of the arresting officer to place doubt in the mind of the jury or judge over your case.
- Unfortunately, you are not entitled to a blood-alcohol test after your arrest because the charge is not a driving under the influence charge. Thus, it will be your word against the arresting officer’s testimony. You will strengthen your case by having witness how can testify you were not drunk at the time of the arrest.
- The no harm, no foul defense. This defense also attacks the element of your criminal charge. You are admitting that your behavior was not the best. You may have been boisterous, loud, profane or vulgar. However, you did not place anyone in harm’s way or put their lives in danger.
- You were not in a public place. Another defense to public intoxication is that you should not have been arrested because you were not in public. A public place is an area such as a street, store or restaurant. You were not in public but in a private area. Another way to use this defense is to tell the court you were involuntarily in a public place. For example, you were at a party and told to leave. To avoid a criminal trespass charge, you had to leave. That meant to go into a public area. Thus, you were not guilty of the crime.
The type of defense you choose is key to how your case will be resolved. For example, a tough defense may mean that you are found not guilty.
A Person Convicted of Public Drunkenness in Atlanta may Spend Time in Jail
The penalty for public drunkenness is the misdemeanor punishment of a $1,000 and a maximum of 12 months in county jail. However, the ultimate sentence depends on the judge. You could receive a punishment of a fine, community service or attend an alcohol awareness course.
Defeat an Atlanta Public Drunkenness Charge with Yeargan & Kert, LLC
Appearing to be or actually being drunk in public may be a funny story to lighten the mood at a party. However, it is a serious criminal charge with 12 months of county jail time at stake. That is why building a strong defense strategy is the best thing to do when facing this type of charge.
Some of the defenses available to you include not being intoxicated. Your witnesses can testify that you were actually sober at the time of your arrest.
Yeargan & Kert, LLC will also present a defense that challenges the criminal element of being in a public place. The no harm, no foul defense of questioning whether the prosecution had evidence that you acted improperly.
Contact Yeargan & Kert, LLC immediately for help with your case.