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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    1

    Default Drunk in Public Charges

    I live in California and was recently arrested on a Drunk in Public charge on a sidewalk outside of a bar. I have 2 points of contention. One is that i was not notified of my charges until i had been locked up for several hours, and two, I was never given any form of a sobriety test. How can they charge me with a DiP without ever confirming my intoxication?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,637

    Default Re: Drunk in Public Charges

    You're charged under this statute?
    Quote Quoting California Penal Code 647(f)
    Every person who commits any of the following acts is guilty of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor:

    (f) Who is found in any public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, controlled substance, or toluene, in a condition that he or she is unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or the safety of others, or by reason of his or her being under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, or toluene, interferes with or obstructs or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way.
    The charge describes behaviors, not a minimum BAC.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    14,762

    Default Re: Drunk in Public Charges

    Quote Quoting MHVP
    I live in California and was recently arrested on a Drunk in Public charge on a sidewalk outside of a bar. I have 2 points of contention. One is that i was not notified of my charges until i had been locked up for several hours, and two, I was never given any form of a sobriety test. How can they charge me with a DiP without ever confirming my intoxication?
    I doubt that the police never told you why you were going to jail. In any event, you were apparently informed of the charges at the jail.

    Also, a sobriety test is not required. All the police must show is that you had consumed alcohol, and that you were somehow unable to care for yourself or the safety of others ... this usually involves fighting, arguing, stumbling, etc.

    Fortunately for you, these charges are rarely filed and most are simply disposed of by the arrest or the suspect is released pursuant to PC 849(b) indicating that the "arrest" will be considered a legal "detention" only. Even if it goes to trial, this tends to be about as low level an offense as you can get.

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,206

    Default Re: Drunk in Public Charges

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
    View Post
    I doubt that the police never told you why you were going to jail. In any event, you were apparently informed of the charges at the jail.

    Also, a sobriety test is not required. All the police must show is that you had consumed alcohol, and that you were somehow unable to care for yourself or the safety of others ... this usually involves fighting, arguing, stumbling, etc.

    - Carl
    Without physical evidence, how could the officer possibly show that alcohol had been consumed?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    14,762

    Default Re: Drunk in Public Charges

    The same way many offenses are shown - through testimony (which IS evidence, by the way).

    The objective signs of alcohol impairment include many objective symptoms. The odor of alcohol is very distinctive, so my guess is the testimony will include the officer's observations including the odor.

    (As a side note, I am out of state in a place with very rare and limited internet access, so any further replies might be a few days coming.)

    - Carl
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,637

    Default Re: Drunk in Public Charges

    Often the suspect will admit to drinking.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Drunk in Public Charges

    A 647f, misdemeanor, is usually a 'time served' offense.

    If you received a citation, look at the bottom for the court date.
    When you appear, you will probably be offered a disposition of credit for the time served in jail. You will also have to pay about 150 in court fees.

    If you didn't receive a citation (be sure you didn't lose it), then it probably was a 'pick-up & hold til sober' (Carl's 849 release by the cop).

    You can take this to trial, but the cop only has to testify to 'your red eyes, the smell of alcohol, your lack of balance, your loud voice, etc' and state his observations which led him to conclude that you were under the influence & unable to care for your own safety or you were blocking the sidewalk.

    This is not a good offense to try - the jury is often composed of home-owners who want the cops to keep the town clear of 'bums' (not saying you are one, just that there is an inherent prejudice against you).

    In some jurisdictions, you will be ordered to attend some AA meetings ...

    This charge is not 'priorable' - it is not usually used to escalate later charges.

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