Public Intoxication: A Former DA Tells You How To Beat A Public Intoxication Charge (2021)


If you have been arrested for Public Intoxication in Tarrant County, Texas, call The Hampton Law Firm now to protect your good name. It is critical that you hire an attorney that can work to negotiate a result that will allow you to have this arrest expunged from your record.

It’s not illegal to have a few alcoholic drinks and walk through The Stockyards or Downtown Fort Worth. It’s also not illegal to have one too many and enjoy yourself on the dance floor at Billy Bob’s. However, if your alcohol use upset’s someone to the point they call the police, you could be looking at an arrest for Public Intoxication.

Under Texas Penal Code, Section 49.02, a person commits an offense if the person appears in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that the person may endanger the person or another. For the purposes of this section, a premises licensed or permitted under the Alcoholic Beverage Code is a public place. It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the alcohol or other substance was administered for therapeutic purposes and as a part of the person’s professional medical treatment by a licensed physician.

As you can see from the Texas Penal Code, just being intoxicated in public is not enough, by itself, to be convicted of Public Intoxication. The law requires that you must have also endangered yourself or another person. Similar to Driving While Intoxicated, Texas law defines “intoxication” as having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher or having lost the normal use of your mental or physical faculties by reason alcohol in your body.

It is quite common that police officers do not offer a breath or blood tests to citizens arrested for public intoxication. As such, your arrest may be based solely upon the police officer’s subjective opinion and subject to cross examination in a court of law. For example, if a police officer cannot articulate facts that specifically indicate intoxication (bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, unsteady on their feet) then your case is a good candidate for an acquittal before a jury.

Additionally, whether or not you endangered yourself or others is a fact issue that is also based upon the police officer’s opinion and subject to challenge in a court of law. For example, if you were highly intoxicated but remained to yourself and did not create a scene or engage in disruptive or dangerous activity, it is highly like you could be found not guilty by a Tarrant County Jury.

Quite commonly, when police officers are called out to a scene, they will arrest someone who has been drinking regardless of whether they are truly intoxicated or posing a danger to themselves or another person. Each and every element discussed here must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the State of Texas.

Under Texas law, Public Intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine only of up to $500. Although jail time is not an option with Public Intoxication, a public intoxication conviction can result in serious consequence ranging from disqualification for certain insurance policies to loss of employment or job opportunities. It is critical that your Public Intoxication case is resolved in a manner that does not result in a criminal conviction and that your record is expunged.

Let me help you get this Public Intoxication arrest resolved. Call The Hampton Law Firm now for a free consultation at 817-877-5200.