Public Intoxication in California

If you are reading this article, there is a good chance that you or a loved one has been charged with public intoxication. Public intoxication in California is a low-level criminal offense, and you may be surprised that it is a crime at all. Nevertheless, it is.

Many people who have been charged with public intoxication assume that they can handle the charge on their own and without the assistance of an experienced attorney. Often, they will agree to plead guilty in exchange for being credited for time served. 

This usually means that they will receive a criminal conviction, but no further jail time. In most cases, this is a very bad idea because that person will have a criminal conviction on their record, when it could have been avoided. 

A criminal record will show up whenever someone performs a background check on you and can disqualify you from certain jobs and occupations. Therefore, if you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with public intoxication in California, you should contact The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian at (855) 918-4253. We know every defense to public intoxication and can help you get the charge dismissed. 

Public Intoxication - CPC 647(f)

The criminal offense of public intoxication in California is codified in California Penal Code Section 647(f). If charged with public intoxication, you will face up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1000 if convicted. 

Being intoxicated and in public is not enough to be guilty of public intoxication. To be found guilty of public intoxication under CPC 647(f), the state must prove that you were:

  1. In a public place; 

  2. Under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and 

  3. Were so intoxicated that you were a danger to yourself or others, or were obstructing a street, sidewalk, or other public way. 

Furthermore, the burden of proof lies with the state, not you.

Defenses to CPC 647(f)

One of the most obvious defenses to a public intoxication charge is to challenge the assumption that you were in a public place. Of course, if you are in a bar, which is not a public place, but a private business, you can't be charged with public intoxication. 

Furthermore, a public intoxication charge can be fought and won because the arresting officers often fail to document the crime properly. Officers often fail to perform even the most basic investigation, such as requesting that you submit to a breath test to prove that you were intoxicated.


Because of this, your defense lawyer may be able to get the charge dismissed. But, only an experienced California criminal defense lawyer will have the forethought and knowledge to pursue this type of defense on your behalf and to present it in a manner that will result in the charge being reduced to a non-criminal offense or dismissed completely.  

Contact An Experienced California Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

While it is not illegal to be intoxicated in public, certain behaviors may get you arrested and charged with a criminal offense. Even a low-level criminal offense, such as public intoxication, can have serious consequences for the rest of your life. 

The best way to deal with this, and any other criminal offense in California, is to enlist the services of an experienced California criminal defense lawyer to help you get the charge reduced or dismissed completely. 

Call The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian 24/7 at (855) 918-4253 to consult with an experienced California criminal defense lawyer and find out what we can do to help you avoid a conviction.