What Is Texas's Public Intoxication Law?


Quick Answer

The public intoxication law in Texas contains three parts, all of which must be legally met for public intoxication to occur, according to the Texas Constitution and Statues. A person can be prosecuted for public intoxication if he appears in a public place while intoxicated to a degree that he might put himself or others in danger.

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According to CriminalDefenseLawyer.com, to meet the standards of public intoxication in Texas, the intoxication must occur in a "public place," which is defined as any place where members of the public have access. This includes abandoned property and any place that is licensed to sell alcohol, like bars or clubs.

Being intoxicated is defined by two standards, according to the Texas Constitution and Statutes. The first is that blood alcohol content must be above 0.08; this is a standard definition in many states. Texas also defines intoxication as not displaying the normal use of mental or physical faculties due to the abuse of alcohol or another substance. This means that officers can arrest people for public intoxication without the required proof of a breathalyzer test or field sobriety test.

The final portion of the law is that the intoxication must place the intoxicated person or others in danger. Under Texas law, as stated by CriminalDefenseLawyer.com, it is enough if an intoxicated person poses a threat to others; no proof of immediate danger is required.

Wikipedia states that public intoxication in Texas is a Class C misdemeanor. Those convicted of it can be placed in a detoxification facility or rehabilitation center at the arresting officer's discretion. Because public intoxication is a misdemeanor, the punishment is a fine of not more than $500. Criminal convictions and repeat offenses, however, can carry more severe punishments.

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