Pasadena Drunk in Public
Pasadena is known for its many popular restaurants, bars and clubs and every night people come to Pasadena to go out and have a good time. The Pasadena Police Department and other law enforcement agencies operating within the Pasadena area want to ensure that public order is maintained and end up issuing numerous citations for alcohol-related offenses. One of the more common offenses charged in Pasadena is drunk in public in violation of California Penal Code Section 647(f) PC.
A person can be arrested for or charged with a Pasadena drunk in public offense when they are so intoxicated that they are unable to properly exercise care for their own safety or the safety of other people. Drunk in public charges can also be filed when the defendant’s intoxication results in him or her interfering with the general public’s ability to use a public way, such as a sidewalk.
In reality, a person can often be arrested for drunk in public in instances where the police believe that he or she is simply not being cooperative. This is often seen as a “catch-all” charge that can apply to a number of situations involving alcohol use. In many cases, the defendant may be found passed out or very intoxicated in his or her motor vehicle but the police do not have enough evidence to support a charge of driving under the influence in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) VC or California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) VC. In these instances, the defendant may be charged with drunk in public.
A prosecutor from the Pasadena City Attorney’s Office or the Pasadena Branch Office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office must be able to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict someone of drunk in public under California Penal Code Section 647(f) PC:
- The defendant was willfully under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- While drunk or on drugs, the defendant was in a public place
- AND while in this public place, the defendant was unable to exercise proper care for his or her own safety or the safety of others OR the defendant interfered with the general public’s ability to move freely.
A defendant can only be convicted of drunk in public in Pasadena if he or she was willfully or intentionally intoxicated. This means that if the defendant was only intoxicated after being drugged or unwittingly provided alcohol, he or she would not be criminally liable under California Penal Code Section 647(f) PC.
Under the law, the term “public place” has been applied very broadly and is considered to include cars that are parked in public areas, the common areas inside apartment complexes and house porches. Examples of areas that are considered not to be public places include the inside of private homes, hotel rooms and a person’s backyard.
In order to be convicted of a Pasadena drunk in public offense the prosecution must be able to prove more than the simple fact that the defendant was drunk and was in a public place. There must also be evidence that the defendant’s intoxication was so extreme that he posed a safety risk to himself or others or was interfering with the public’s ability to use a public way. Examples include situations where a defendant is trying to pick fights with people in the street or is passed out on a sidewalk in such a manner that people have to step over or around him.
Drunk in public is a misdemeanor level offense, and those convicted of this crime can be sentenced to serve a maximum of six months in jail in addition to court fines. A defendant’s third conviction for drunk in public within a year would result in the defendant being sentenced to at least 90 days in jail. Under the statute, this mandatory 90 day jail term can alternatively be satisfied by checking in to a 60 day alcohol and/or drug treatment center.
If you or a loved one have been cited for drunk in public in Pasadena, it is very important that you consult with a Pasadena Criminal Defense Lawyer immediately. Pasadena Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney who understands how best to defend those charged with drunk in public offenses. Mr. Kraut was previously assigned to the Pasadena Courthouse where he served as a Senior Trial Prosecutor and is highly regarded by the judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers in this area.
For more information about Pasadena drunk in public offenses, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Pasadena Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 790 East Colorado Boulevard, 9th Floor, Pasadena, CA 91101. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 626-345-1899.