What is Drunk in Public?
You can be charged with being drunk in public if you are in a public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor, or any drug, controlled substance, toluene, in a condition that you are unable to exercise care for your own safety or the safety of others, or you interfere with or obstruct or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way.
A "public" place includes bars, restaurants, hotels, and any other places open and accessible to the public.
Penalties for Drunk in Public
Drunk in public (Penal Code Section 647(f)), is punishable by up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. The court can also order probation, participation in clean and sober court, and abstinence from alcohol.
Clean and Sober
Clean and sober court is often required for a conviction of simple possession or under the influence. Restrictions include:
- No using drugs or alcohol, submit to regular testing;
- Prohibited from owning any weapons;
- Submit to search and seizure of property and residence, and random drug testing;
- No gambling until all probation fees and restitution is paid in full;
- Do not socialize with drug-using friends or anyone on probation or parole.
Drunk in Public Defenses
Minor in Possession
If you are under 21, it is a misdemeanor to possess alcohol in public. (Business and Professions Code Section 25662)
If you are a UCSB or SBCC student, you may qualify for the CASE (College Alcohol and Substance Education) program. If you accepted into the program, all charges will be dismissed upon completion of classes.
Minor in possession is punishable by a fine of $250 or 24-32 hours of community service. A second conviction is punishable by a maximum fine of $500 or 36-48 hours of community service.
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor minor in possession, you may also face academic consequences due to your conviction.