Disorderly conduct and public intoxication are two very common charges utilized by the police. In fact, because disorderly conduct describes a wide variety of offenses, law enforcement officials can use this charge to arrest a person and keep him or her in custody until further evidence of crime is found. While public inebriation can cause a disorderly conduct charge, there are several differences between public intoxication and disorderly conduct charges.
First, the charge of disorderly conduct can include a variety of actions that cause disturbance. Some common causes for this charge include:
Inciting a riot
Fighting in public areas
Disturbing the peace
Loud noise, such as playing loud music
Additionally, public drunkenness can lead to socially offensive actions and disturb the peace. As such, officers often arrest an inebriated person for disorderly contact.
However, to receive a true public intoxication charge, a person must be visibly inebriated to the point that they are a danger to themselves and even the people around them. For instance, if someone is stumbling around drunk, he or she could easily fall or get in the way of an oncoming vehicle. Additionally, the individual may choose to make unsafe decisions that can affect others, such as improperly handling a lighter and accidentally starting a fire.
It is important to note that public intoxication charges do not deal solely with alcohol. A person can also be charged with this crime if they are noticeably under the influence of illicit drugs, prescription medication, over-the-counter medicine, or if they are intoxicated from other sources, such as sniffing aerosol cans. Additionally, if the person is intoxicated by alcohol, law enforcement officials typically do not test for blood alcohol content, or BAC. The judgment comes by observing the person’s disruptive or reckless actions instead.
Public intoxication charges are fairly narrow, while disorderly conduct is broad. This means that police officers have more freedom in distributing charges.
If you believe that you have been wrongfully charged with either of these crimes, you should not allow law enforcement officials to get away with this intimidation. To discuss your case, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney from the Lassiter Law Office today.