Drunk in Public
The city of Long Beach is a city that hosts numerous civic events such as the Long Beach Grand Prix, the Gay Pride Parade, and a downtown New Years Eve block party. The city has numerous "party" districts such as Belmont Shore and Pine Avenue. Major conventions occur regularly in Long Beach.
Alcohol consumption goes hand in hand with these events. Unfortuantely, from time to time, the Long Beach Police arrest revelers for drinking "too much" and being in public. In Long Beach, and the rest of California, Penal Code section 647(f)prohibits certain "disorderly conduct" including being drunk in public. In reality, the charge is not easy to prove. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you defend against a criminal charge of being drunk in public.
Penal Code section 647(f) declares that a person commits a misdemeanor: "Who is found in any public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, controlled substance, or toluene, in a condition that he or she is unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or the safety of others, or by reason of his or her being under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, or toluene, interferes with or obstructs or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way."
Thus to be "drunk in public" under California law, it is required that there is evidence that the accused was so drunk that he or she "is unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or that of others" or obstructs the free use of a a street or sidewalk. In short, a prosecutor must not only prove drunkeness, but drunkeness to the degree that the accused can't care for their own afety or that of others or are passed out on the street or sidewalk.
Of course if you find yourself scooped off of the sidewalk or pavement so drunk you chose to sleep there, and you intentionally drank enough to get there (your drink wasn't spiked), the prosecution can probably prove their case.
However, many "drunk in public" arrests are the result of contacts with law enforcement that go sour based upon a failure to pass the "attitude" test with the police officer. Often times a "drunk in public" charge is made along with a "resisting arrest" charge (Penal Code section 148). It is not unusual for police contacts with persons who have been drinking to turn into an arrest, even if the person was not "unable to care for his safety...."
Long Beach criminal attorney, Matthew Kaestner, has successfully defended drunk in public and resisting arrest cases for over two decades. One client, who was arrested in Belmont shore when he called police after being thrown out of a bar by abusive bouncers. The police then showed up and beat the client with black jacks. He was charged with being drunk in public and resisting arrest.
The breath machine showed that the client was only at the legal limit for driving, .08. When the City Prosecutor refused to dismiss the case, attorney Kaestner was able to get the man acquitted of all charges by a Long Beach jury. The man sued the bar and the city and received a monetary settlement from both.
If you have been arrested for being drunk in public and perhaps even resisting arrest, you need expert legal advice. It is not wise to just plead guilty to get the matter behind you. Even if you were arrested in Long Beach while visiting from out of town, attorney Kaestner can fight your case for you while you remain out of town or even out of state. Any sort of criminal conviction can have life long consequences. Long Beach criminal lawyer Matthew Kaestner is available to take your call personally and answer your important questions about a drunk in public arrest. He can be contacted directly at (562) 437-0200.
Matt Kaestner Attorney. This website is designed for informational use only and the information presented on this website should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney/client relationship.
For more information about the Law Office of Matthew Kaestner visit his site at www.lbcrimlaw.com.