There is no charge of public intoxication in Florida, the charge is Disorderly Intoxication. Disorderly Intoxication and Disorderly Conduct rise during most holidays. Whether it be St. Patrick’s Day, Spring Break, Memorial Day, or the 4th of July, people take part in festivities at pubs, private homes, and street parties all over the country.
If things get out of hand, parties, large gatherings, and celebrations at any time of the year can come at a cost.
What is Disorderly Intoxication in Florida?
Disorderly Intoxication is when someone is visibly drunk or under the influence of drugs in a public place, including a public conveyance such as a city bus.
What are the Penalties for Disorderly Intoxication in Florida?
According to Florida state law, it is a second-degree misdemeanor to be intoxicated in public. A Disorderly Intoxication charge can include a fine of up to $250 and up to 90 days in jail. (Fl. Stat. Ann. § 856.011.)
Additional penalties for Disorderly Intoxication, also called public drunkenness, can occur if someone gets convicted three times in a twelve-month period, including being committed to treatment or a rehabilitation facility for up to 60 days.
If you create a public disturbance, the maximum penalty for Disorderly Intoxication is 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Judges have leeway in sentencing and can permit a defendant to go through Pretrial Diversion if it is their first offense.
How Do You Get Out of a Disorderly Intoxication Charge?
Three basic elements must be met to get convicted of Disorderly Intoxication in Florida. An attorney can use these elements to mount a defense in your case.
First, your attorney may be able to argue that you were not intoxicated. If there is no concrete evidence, such as a blood alcohol test, this element may not stand. However, the level of intoxication required is very high.
Second, your attorney may argue that you were not in a public place or were involuntarily in a public place. For instance, if a police officer orders you to step from a private to a public space and then cites you for public intoxication, this could be a valid defense that your attorney may use.
Third, your attorney may argue that there was no disturbance and you were not causing any harm to anyone at the time of the arrest. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney can have multiple ways to create a defense to receive the best outcome possible.
What is Disorderly Conduct?
Disorderly Conduct is one of the most common criminal charges in the state. It is sometimes called a “breach of the peace.” This charge, generally speaking, relates to behavior that can annoy, anger, or alarm other people. It can also be affiliated with behavior that causes an increased likelihood for someone to engage in illegal activity.
Disorderly Conduct in Florida is a separate charge that could be added on top of a Disorderly Intoxication charge. According to Florida state statutes, someone can be charged with Disorderly Conduct if their behavior causes a safety hazard to those around them.
Often, when associated with public intoxication, a common behavior associated with a Disorderly Conduct charge is fighting. Other behaviors that can be charged as Disorderly Conduct can include other types of public misconduct such as public urination and using any type of physical conduct during police encounters.
What are the Penalties for Disorderly Conduct?
Disorderly Conduct is also a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1000 fine. The charge is often a catch-all charge when someone’s behavior is disorderly but does not break any other specific laws. An individual who is convicted of Disorderly Conduct will often get probation as well. If probation is violated, then more significant jail time and higher fines may be issued in your case.
Why Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney?
With charges of Disorderly Intoxication in Florida and/or Disorderly Conduct, the potential penalties can not only be difficult in the short-term, but in the long- term as well.
While it might seem easier to simply plead guilty and pay the fines, you should consider the long-term consequences before choosing that option. Penalties for second and third-time offenses are harsher than for first offenses, so it is better not to have convictions for these charges on your record. A criminal conviction, whether it be a misdemeanor or a felony, will stay on your record for life unless it is successfully expunged or sealed, which can be very challenging.
The good news is – both of these charges can be challenged in court.
Florida’s Disorderly Conduct laws are somewhat vague. Often, cases are dismissed because the claim that you have caused a danger to others cannot be supported. Witnesses and other evidence presented by your defense attorney can refute the charges from the prosecution. Law enforcement may not have followed certain policies and procedures during the arrest. There are often multiple options/strategies that an attorney may use in your defense to refute the Disorderly Intoxication or Disorderly Conduct charges.
Disorderly Intoxication and Disorderly Conduct are common charges during most holidays. Whether it be St. Patrick’s Day, Spring Break, or the 4th of July, it doesn’t mean you have to live with a conviction on your record for the rest of your life. Pleading guilty and paying fines to what you may feel at the time are charges that are not very consequential can have unforeseen consequences in your career as well as your personal life. You do not have to face these charges alone.
You should have the support of a criminal lawyer to ensure the best possible outcome in your case.
Contact the Law Firm of Dean Tsourakis Today
If you or a loved one has been charged with Disorderly Conduct or Disorderly Intoxication in Florida, contact us to help preserve your rights and freedom.
Dean Tsourakis is a Clearwater criminal defense attorney with over 25+ years of experience committed to helping people and works with clients each step in the process.
Contact us today at 727-785-2700 for a free consultation. You have the right to a skilled defense attorney. We are here to help.on Apr 12, 2012