You might recall hearing about an LAPD Commander and an LAPD sergeant who were involved in a traffic incident in Glendale in which the Commander was charged with public intoxication and the sergeant, the driver of the vehicle, being arrested and charged with DUI. In short, Glendale police came across a vehicle that was stopped for some reason, with the driver, the LAPD sergeant, asleep in the driver’s seat, and the commander taken into custody for public intoxication.
The commander was recorded on cell phone being led out of an unmarked LAPD vehicle by several Glendale Police Department officers.
Court records showed that the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office dismissed the public intoxication charges against the commander this week and have not confirm the reason for the dismissal. The sergeant has pleaded not guilty to DUI charges stemming from the incident.
There has been much discussion already about getting a DUI in Los Angeles in previous blog posts. If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI in Los Angeles, contact Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Ross Erlich today for a free case consultation.
But what about public intoxication? Many people seem to believe that if you get arrested for public intoxication, the police simply bring you to the local jail to “sleep it off” and you get released the next day. Well, that is not quite accurate and you could find yourself being released the next day with a misdemeanor citation to appear at a future court date.
Public intoxication is a violation of California Penal Code section 647(f), which states that any person who is found in any public place under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or any combination, in a condition that he or she is unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or the safety of others, or if being under the influence interferes with or obstructs or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk or other public way, is guilty of disorderly conduct.
Thus, it is not illegal to be drunk or under the influence in a public place. It is only illegal if you cannot exercise care for your safety or the safety of others, or, if you interfere or obstruct a street or sidewalk.
Because it is a misdemeanor, the charge is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Also, the conviction will be recorded on your criminal record and this can create issues for employment and obtaining a professional license with the state of California.
Just because you are charged with public intoxication doesn’t mean that you will be convicted of it. Depending on your prior criminal record, if any, and what other charges are filed along with the public intoxication, if any, you may be eligible to enter into a diversionary sentence. This can take the form of a number of different arrangements, including completing a drug treatment program, classes, attending NA or AA classes or some other community service type work in exchange for the charges to be dismissed.
If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI or public intoxication in Los Angeles, Orange county, San Bernardino county or Riverside county, contact Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer Ross Erlich today.