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Orange County Bar Association

Drunk in Public / Public Intoxication

This crime is commonly charged under Penal Code Section 647(f). The elements are the following:

  1. That the Defendant  was willfully under the influence of alcohol/drugs; and
  2. The Defendant was in a public place; and
  3. The Defendant was unable to care for himself or others OR obstructed a road or sidewalk because he was under the influence.


Someone can be intoxicated but not so intoxicated as to present a threat to himself or others. This is a point that can be argued with the District Attorney.

Practice Note

Often times the police will conduct a Field Sobriety Test to determine the level of intoxication of a Defendant.  The Attorney should assess the testing process to see whether it establishes the level of intoxication required by the law. Also, many of these cases can be dismissed by having the Attorney negotiate an agreement whereby the Defendant attend a class on drug/alcohol abuse. Please contact Mr. Bruzzo if you, a friend, or loved one has been charged with drunk in public/public intoxication or for any criminal matter at (714) 547-4636.

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“I was pulled over for not having license plates on my car. The reason for that was because it was new. When the Officer pulled me over, he claims to have smelled marijuana and he began to ask me questions. I admitted to smoking marijuana earlier in the...


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