Criminal Lawyer: Explains Public Intoxication, Drunk in Public, Profanity

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virginia criminal lawyer public intoxicationVirginia Criminal Lawyer:

  • Drunk in Public

    Public Intoxication – or –

    Disorderly Conduct?

If you have been charged (or your loved-one, including spouse or child) with this offense, this page will answer certain questions we would expect one to have, if in your shoes.

Questions some people have before consulting a Virginia criminal lawyer about: public intoxication; drunk in public; DWI; DUI; disorderly conduct; or, other alcohol related possession offenses

Wait. Isn’t a ‘drunk in public’ the same thing as ‘disorderly conduct’?


Should I talk to a lawyer?


Will a Virginia criminal lawyer be expensive to talk to?


This charge will not be publicly viewable, right?

WRONG, IT WILL BE. Unless you get it expunged.

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Preliminary “Drunk in Public” Matters

These  offenses are different, and be sure to have the code section handy (if possible) when you call a local defense attorney.

Learn more about the disorderly conduct penalties in Virginia here:

For an assessment of an underage alcohol crime, whether possession-related or something more serious, feel free to use our online message case evaluation tool.[/vc_column_text][vc_teaser_grid grid_content=”teaser” grid_layout=”thumbnail” grid_link=”link_post” grid_link_target=”_self” grid_template=”carousel” grid_layout_mode=”fitRows” order=”DESC” grid_columns_count=”1″ grid_posttypes=”page” grid_teasers_count=”1″ posts_in=”1556″ grid_thumb_size=”280×180″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

Initial Questions about 18.2-388: (Drunk in Public in Virginia)

If you received a public intoxication ticket, maybe you plan on prepaying.

But is it even a possibility?

In Virginia, generally criminal charges cannot be prepaid. Check with your local court. Traffic infractions and criminal misdemeanors are not the same thing.

Be aware that by prepaying, you are admitting guilt

If you are located in  Ashburn, here is how to contact a local defense attorney[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

As a criminal lawyer…I get it.

Having worked with many people in situations, including the familiar drunk in public, public intoxication charge, I do know one thing:

it is not one you want on your record.

To make sure a public intoxication charge or other embarrassing blemish stays off your permanent adult criminal record, you must make sure not to plead guilty and to avoid a finding of guilty. The obvious conclusion is to hire counsel, or local defense attorney, as soon as possible.

To win the public intoxication case, the government must prove:

  1. The location is indeed a public area.
  2. The defendant was intoxicated.

Your lawyer might mention a few things (depending on the circumstances of your case).

Quick Explanations from a Criminal Lawyer

  • a public place is a location that is considered “open” and visible to anyone in the locality. Examples may include an area owned by someone else, but still visible to others.
  • Think about a porch or a front yard area. In Virginia, even though someone many own a location like a porch, it is possible it may be considered a public place.

What about intoxication?

How do the police officers really know whether or not someone is drunk? The final decision maker is the trier of fact (the judge, or in some cases, possibly a jury).

The judge and the jury must abide by Virginia laws. The Code of Virginia tells us that “intoxicated” means consuming enough alcoholic beverages to a point where:

  • There has been an effect upon speech,
  • Muscular movement is compromised,

…or the individual’s disposition, general appearance, or behavior, among other things.

In court, a defendant with no lawyer is at a disadvantage. The officer likely has been in this position many times; same is true for the judge. A local Virginia criminal lawyer can make sure the justice system is not stacked against the defendant. For example,

if the officer were to testify as to the person’s “glassy eyes,” or strong odor, a criminal defense attorney could point out that in Virginia, this code section is meant to punish behavior of the accused, not the way the defendant looked!

The Main Virginia Public Intoxication Code:

The main code section is § 18.2-388

Beware: local laws (local ordinances)

Drunk in Public Ordinances: Fairfax County, City of Alexandria, County of Arlington,

Fairfax County 5-1-1

City of Alexandria: 13-1-5

County of Arlington: 17-7

Using profanity and being drunk in public are charges that can cause other people to make unfair assumptions about certain things. Nobody should judge another person’s personality and other qualities and traits because of a past incidents like a public intoxication charge in Virginia .

So one of the first steps whenever facing a criminal violation in Virginia is it assess the crime according to penalties, and do not forget to factor in the long-term consequences.

After all, the ticket received from the officer does not tell you everything you really ought to know…

For example, do you know whether or not pleading guilty will result trouble later when seeking expungement, which means the process of sealing a criminal arrest record?

Other Laws

§ 18.2-387.1. Obscene sexual display; penalty.

Any person who, while in any public place where others are present, intending that he be seen by others, intentionally and obscenely as defined in § 18.2-372, engages in actual or explicitly simulated acts of masturbation, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

§ 18.2-387. Indecent exposure.

Every person who intentionally makes an obscene display or exposure of his person, or the private parts thereof, in any public place, or in any place where others are present, or procures another to so expose himself, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. No person shall be deemed to be in violation of this section for breastfeeding a child in any public place or any place where others are present.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Virginia defense attorney covers the elements, defenses, and penalties of public intoxication.
Misdemeanor Defense - Public Intoxication Laws
Date Published: 11/24/2013
This is a great description and explanation of the public intoxication law in Virginia by Anita, one of our editors.
4.7 / 5 stars

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Brenton D. Vincenzes is a lifelong Fairfax County resident and Fairfax Criminal Defense Lawyer. He is a member of the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National College of DUI Defense, NORML, and has been awarded the following in 2014-15: Top 100 Trial Lawyer (National Trial Lawyers) Top 40 Under 40 Trial Lawyer (National Trial Lawyers) Nationally Ranked Top 10 Under 40 Defense Attorney (National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys) 10 Best in Client Satisfaction for Criminal Defense (American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys) Nationally Ranked Top 1% Attorney Award Recipient (National Association of Distinguished Counsel) As a local leader, Mr. Vincenzes mentors troubled youths, volunteers his time to serve at his church, takes select pro bono clients, and strives to improve the community. Mr. Vincenzes represents men, women, and juveniles through zealous and diligent advocacy, strategic planning, and skilled trial work preparation. Mr. Vincenzes' areas of criminal law practice are broad, and include most felonies and misdemeanors such as: reckless driving, DUI & DWI, drug offenses, assault and battery, domestic violence, assault on an officer, destruction of property, alcohol offenses, firearm offenses, larceny, shoplifting, embezzlement, fraud, and other theft offenses, and moving traffic violations among others. His private legal services are available in most Northern Virginia jurisdictions, including Fairfax County, Arlington County, Prince William County, Loudoun County, Stafford County, Alexandria, Manassas, Leesburg, South Riding, and other cities and towns.

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