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What are the Consequences of Public Intoxication in Texas?

For a first offense public intoxication case, the consequences are a $500 fine and a conviction on your permanent record, and for subsequent convictions, you can face jail time.

Public intoxication is far from the world’s most serious crime. If authorities really did not want you to be drunk in public, then why are there bars, football games, music festivals, and so many other places and events that encourage drinking? Texas law acknowledges that a person who is walking on a public street while under the influence of alcohol is causing much less of a danger than, for example, someone who is driving under the influence of alcohol, and therefore it assesses the penalties appropriately. In other words, a conviction for public intoxication is better than a conviction for drunk driving or drug possession, for example, but it is still much worse than not having a criminal record. The Fort Worth criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker can help you avoid a criminal conviction if you are being accused of public intoxication.

Criminal Penalties for a Public Intoxication Conviction in Texas

According to Texas law, you can be charged with and convicted of public intoxication if, in a public place, you behave in an erratic, dangerous, or bothersome way because you are under the influence of alcohol or an illegal drug. In other words, it has to be obvious that you are drunk; if you simply walk home from the bar without bothering anyone or drawing attention to yourself, no one will suspect you or accuse you of public intoxication.

A first offense of public intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor. The maximum sentence for a conviction is a $500 fine. The same applies to second offense public intoxication. If it is your third public intoxication case or beyond, then public intoxication is a Class B misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for Class B public intoxication is a $2,000 fine and 180 days in county jail.

Can You Make a Public Intoxication Charge Go Away?

Even though pleading guilty to a Class C misdemeanor does not result in jail time or loss of your voting rights, having a conviction on your record, even for a minor crime, can still cause problems for you for years to come. The record of the conviction will remain visible on criminal background checks for life unless you get it expunged; it could limit your employment opportunities. Therefore, it is in your interest to hire a criminal defense lawyer. Your lawyer might be able to get the charges dismissed for lack of evidence. Your lawyer might also be able to help you get into a pretrial diversion program where you can get the charges dropped if you completed court-ordered addiction treatment and other requirements.

Contact the Fort Worth TX Law Office of Kyle Whitaker About Public Intoxication Cases

A criminal defense attorney can help you if you are being accused of public intoxication or another misdemeanor offense related to alcohol or drugs. Contact the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker in Fort Worth, Texas, to discuss your case.