How serious are public intoxication charges?

On Behalf of | Sep 18, 2023 | Criminal Defense

A night on the town can easily turn into making poor decisions. In North Carolina, public intoxication is a serious matter in North Carolina.

Individuals who find themselves drunk in public may face legal consequences from not only the initial charge but additional ones that frequently accompany this offense.

Public intoxication penalties

In North Carolina, public intoxication falls under the state’s alcohol-related laws, and those found inebriated in a public place may be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor. The penalties for a Class 3 misdemeanor can include fines of up to $200 and a potential jail sentence, although this is less likely for first-time offenders. Instead, individuals often receive probation and community service as part of their sentence.

Additional charges that may arise

Depending on the circumstance, public intoxication can lead to more severe consequences when combined with other offenses. Engaging in disruptive behavior or creating a public nuisance while intoxicated may lead to a public nuisance charge, leading to additional fines and the possibility of community service.

Behaving in a disruptive or aggressive manner while intoxicated can result in a disorderly conduct charge. Disorderly conduct is a Class 2 misdemeanor, carrying more significant penalties than public intoxication alone. Penalties can include fines of up to $1,000 and potential jail time. Any attempts to resist arrest or act out violently only increase the odds of more severe consequences, including incarceration.

While many people go out and have a few drinks, getting drunk leads to approximately 316,032 arrests annually. Understanding the potential ramifications of public intoxication may help remind people to make responsible choices when consuming alcohol in public spaces.