Public Intoxication in California

Penal Code 647(f) Public Intoxication in California.

Public intoxication in California is an offense under the California Penal Code Sec. 647(f) that states (in paraphrased format):

A person is intoxicated for the purposes of 647(f), if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs to such an extent that they:

1.are unable to exercise care for your safety or the safety of others, or
2.interfere with, obstruct, or prevent others from using streets, sidewalks, or other “public ways.

The level of intoxication a person has to be at to violate Sec. 647(f) is very intoxicated. This doesn’t mean a person is tipsy, or had a few too many. Rather, someone guilty of public intoxication violating the law is so intoxicated that they are unable to function safely in a public place and place themselves or someone else in jeopardy.

Defenses to Public Intoxication in California charges.

The two most common arguments that prevail in public intoxication cases are

1. The place the person was arrested wasn’t, in fact, a public place.
Someone in their home, or in the “curtilage” of their home (such as an enclosed yard or garden) is not in a public place, as contemplated in the Penal Code. As such, these people are not guilty of public intoxication because they truly aren’t in the public.

2. The level of intoxication of the person doesn’t reach the level of criminal public intoxication.
To prevail in a defense arguing the defendant wasn’t at the level of intoxication to make their actions criminal, they need to consult with an expert attorney and most likely will need to consult with an expert witness familiar with the forensic science involved. The defense is pretty straightforward: the person wasn’t that drunk. The process of proving that is more complex, because of the myriad of technical and legal issues presented in order to assert that defense.

For more information on how to beat a Public Intoxication in California charge, call one of our attorneys at 213-400-0358 and discuss your case with them.

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