Beverly Hills Drunk In Public
Beverly Hills is world-famous for its shopping, restaurants and nightlife. People from all over the world come to Beverly Hills to enjoy themselves. Anywhere that there are a number of popular bars, restaurants and nightclubs that serve alcohol, law enforcement officers in the area are on alert for people who may be committing drunk in public offenses in violation of California Penal Code Section 647(f) PC. This would include Beverly Hills, where officers from the Beverly Hills Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and other agencies operating in the area are on the lookout for people who may be dangerously intoxicated.
For adults who are 21 or older, it is typically not against the law to be drunk in a public place and criminal charges would not be applicable. However, people can be charged with drunk in public when their level of intoxication is so extreme that they no longer are able to look out for their own safety or the safety of others. In addition, a person who passes out and blocks a public road or sidewalk can also be charged with this offense.
In practice, law enforcement are often accused of treating drunk in public charges as a “catch-all” offense that would justify citing or arresting someone who is being obnoxious or who is not cooperating with police. Frequently, drunk in public charges are filed against defendants who are discovered passed out in a vehicle. A prosecutor may not have enough to charge the defendant with the more serious crime of DUI under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) VC and California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) VC, but the defendant could still be prosecuted for drunk in public as long as the car was on a public street.
In Beverly Hills, drunk in public prosecutions would be handled by a Deputy District Attorney from the Airport Branch of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The crime of drunk of public is composed of the following elements:
- The defendant was drunk or on drugs and this was not the result of involuntary intoxication
- The defendant was in a public place while in this drunk or drugged state
- AND the defendant’s level of intoxication was such that he was no longer able to care for himself or others or was inhibiting the public’s ability to move freely on a road or sidewalk.
To be convicted under California Penal Code Section 647(f) PC, the defendant must have been willfully intoxicated. Defendants who became intoxicated after someone slipped them drugs or alcohol without their knowledge or approval would not be guilty of this offense.
There has been a significant amount of litigation regarding what is and is not considered to be a public place under the law. Appellate courts have held that the interiors of vehicles parked in public, an apartment complex’s common areas and front porches are all public places. Places that have been found not to be public include backyards, hotel rooms and inside individual apartment units.
Drunk in public requires more than a showing that the defendant was intoxicated while in a public place. The Deputy District Attorney handling the case must show something in addition; such as the defendant was trying to drunkenly start fights with strangers in the streets or that he or she was passed out on the sidewalk and people were forced to step over the defendant or walk around him.
A defendant who is convicted of drunk in public in Beverly Hills, which is a misdemeanor offense, may face up to 180 days in jail, court fines and other probationary terms meant to address the defendant’s alcohol use, such as mandatory AA meetings, counseling or classes. If the defendant has had two prior convictions for drunk in public that have occurred in the past calendar year, the law requires that the defendant be sent to jail for a minimum of 90 days. This jail time can be commuted at the judge’s discretion if the defendant enters a 60 day treatment program.
If you or a family member have been charged with a Beverly Hills drunk in public offense, it is imperative that you speak with a Beverly Hills Criminal Defense Lawyer immediately. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Beverly Hills Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut is highly skilled at providing effective counsel to those accused of drunk in public offenses.
For more information about Beverly Hills drunk in public offenses, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Beverly Hills Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 8484 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 660B, Beverly Hills, CA 90211-3220. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 310-550-6935.