What are the Penalties for Public Intoxication in TX?
Under Texas law (Texas Penal Code § 49.01), a person can be arrested for and charged with the offense of public intoxication if he or she “_appears in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that the person may endanger the person or another._” It should be emphasized that intoxication does not merely apply to alcohol. Under the Texas statute, intoxication includes:
- Controlled substances;
- Dangerous drugs; and
- Any combination.
Technically, it is possible to be arrested and charged with public intoxication for behavior that occurred while on a prescription drug. The Texas statute is clear: It is a valid defense to a public intoxication charge if the cause of the intoxication was a drug/substance properly administered under the guidance of a licensed physician.
Know the Penalties for Public Intoxication in Texas
In Texas, public intoxication is generally charged as a Class C misdemeanor offense. It is punishable by a $500 fine. Perhaps more importantly, a conviction for the criminal charge will go on a person’s permanent criminal record. You do not want a public intoxication charge to ruin your clean criminal record. These charges can be defended.
A public intoxication charge is more serious for repeat offenders. If you already have three prior public intoxication charges on your record, the fourth and subsequent offenses can be charged as a Class B misdemeanor carrying maximum criminal penalties of a $2,500 fine and up to 180 days in jail.
Enhanced Penalties for Public Intoxication (Underage Person)
Texas has specialized criminal penalties in place if the person being charged with public intoxication is under the age of 21. Underage individuals can still be charged with a Class C misdemeanor offense that carries a $500 fine. Beyond the fine and loss of their clean record, an underage person arrested for public intoxication can also face the following penalties:
- A one-month (30-day) suspension of their driver’s license;
- Mandatory attendance in an alcohol education class; and
- A maximum of 12 hours of community service.
Call Our Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney Today
At The Law Office of Kyle Whitaker, our Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer provides savvy, insightful, and solutions-focused legal representation. If you have questions about the penalties for public intoxication, we can help. Contact us today for a confidential appointment with a top defense lawyer. With a law office in Fort Worth, we defend public intoxication charges throughout the region, including in Tarrant County, Dallas County, Johnson County, and Parker County.