SD Drunk in Public Attorney
Two common misdemeanor offenses in San Diego are Drunk in Public/Public Intoxication and Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance.  These laws do not reflect the most serious or dangerous conduct, but are nonetheless convictions you would want to work hard to keep off of your record.  A history of substance abuse on your background check could affect immigration status, employment, professional licensing, child custody and more.  If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with public intoxication or being under the influence of a controlled substance, consult with a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney to discuss your defenses and your options for keeping your record clean. 


Consuming alcohol is legal in California, and is frequently done in a public place.  To be clear, PC 647(f) does not ban consuming alcohol, even to the point of impairment, and then walking around in a public place.  There are much different standards for alcohol impairment in DUI cases, and alcohol impairment regarding Public Intoxication charges.  While an impaired driver will be charged with DUI for being above the legal limit or being to impaired to safely operate a motor vehicle, the standard for public intoxication is MUCH higher.  In order to sustain a conviction for Drunk in Public, a person must be so impaired that they are unable to care for their own safety or the safety of others.  For example, a person walking in the middle of the street, crossing train tracks, or stumbling in a crown and knocking others over.  What is important to note is that simply being under the influence of alcohol in a public place is NOT against the law.  If it were, San Diego Police could round up most of the people walking around Pacific Beach or the Gaslamp at night.  This is not the intention of the law, but police do sometimes make an arrest for public intoxication where it is not justified, yet another reason that having a skilled, aggressive and knowledgeable attorney is so important.

The Health & Safety Code prohibits the possession of certain drugs, including cocaine, heroin, prescription medications, methamphetamine, MDMA and marijuana.  What many do not know, is that even if not found in possession of these substances, being under the influence can lead to an arrest and criminal charges.  Proving drug impairment can be quite difficult.  Although some police officers receive special training to identify drug impairment, there are not as many studies and resources for them to lean on in such training, as there are with alcohol intoxication.  Police officers will often make an unfounded arrest under HS 11550.  Their lack of expertise and ability to diagnose drug impairment can lead to false arrests, but also make proving actual impairment difficult when a lawful arrest is made.  If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with being under the influence of a controlled substance, you need a skilled San Diego Defense Attorney on your side.
more drug crimes

Even if the government has a strong case for public intoxication or under the influence of a controlled substance, it may be possible to avoid a conviction through a diversion program, where AA/NA meetings and other steps can substitute for jail time, probation and a misdemeanor conviction.  If you have previously suffered a conviction or an arrest for public intoxication or for being under the influence of a controlled substance, consult with a lawyer about what steps you can take to clean up your record, whether through expungement, a motion to terminate probation early, or a petition to seal and destroy your arrest record.
more about expungements

Being arrested or charged with a crime is scary and stressful.  There is a potential for serious consequences, but there is one step you can take to protect yourself from those consequences - hire an attorney to represent you and fight the charges against you.  Our framers and founders would be devastated to learn that our "Land of the Free" imprisons more of its citizens than any other nation on earth.  When facing criminal charges, it is important to fight this oppressive system and protect your own important rights.

Nicholas M. Loncar, Esq.
San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney
San Diego Expungements Lawyer
By Nicholas Loncar   


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