Attorneys of Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC walking

Consequences in Texas for Public Intoxication

11/20/22

If you have been charged recently with public intoxication, you may be wondering what penalties and consequences you’re in for. The consequences for a public intoxication charge in Texas will depend on various factors, such as the offender’s age, if the offender has previous convictions, and the circumstances of the arrest.

However, it is also vital to remember that most people who have been charged with public intoxication can have their charges reduced or dismissed with help from a skilled Texas criminal defense attorney.

What Exactly is Public Intoxication?

Simply being intoxicated in public is not a crime under Texas law. A public place is any location that the public has access to, which can include public streets, restaurants, bars, malls, cafes, stores, and common areas of hospitals, apartment buildings, and office buildings.

That being said, if your intoxication endangers you or other people, you can be arrested for public intoxication. Keep in mind that being drunk or smelling of alcohol does not necessarily mean that you’re intoxicated. In general, you must have been passed out or slurring your speech and stumbling for the police to charge you with public intoxication. Someone being excessively loud, rowdy, and uncooperative with the police may also indicate intoxication.

The prosecution does not need to prove that you were a danger to yourself or other people. The assessment of possible danger is left to the arresting officer’s discretion. For example, if the officer feels that you cannot walk by yourself safely or that you will attempt to hop into your car and drive while intoxicated, that risk may be enough to show that you may be a danger to yourself or others around you.

What is The Punishment for Public Intoxication?

As a class C misdemeanor, public intoxication carries a fine of up to $500 and generally doesn’t lead to incarceration. While jail time is not usually possible upon conviction, the officer has the right to hold the person in jail until they have sobered up to ensure that they don’t endanger themselves or others. The officer may also opt to release the intoxicated person to a detox center or a responsible adult.

Take note, though, that while getting charged with public intoxication might seem like no big deal, drunken behavior or getting arrested can result in more serious charges. For instance, starting a bar fight could result in assault charges. If you are a minor, you could be slapped with a ticket for illegal consumption. Likewise, if you were stumbling to your car before starting the ignition, these actions may be enough for an officer to suspect a DWI for operating a car while intoxicated. 

Reach Out to a Seasoned Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Now

While people don’t generally view a public intoxication charge as a serious crime, it may still come with consequences that will end up on your record and your academic, financial, and professional life. If you’ve been charged with public intoxication or any other crime, talk to our Texas criminal defense attorney today. Contact Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC at 210-222-9132 or online to arrange your meeting with our Texas criminal defense attorney.