Under Texas Penal Code Sec. 49.02: Public Intoxication, you commit public intoxication any time you are in a public place while intoxicated enough to put yourself or others in harm’s way. This relates to “intoxicated” as defined in Texas Penal Code Sec. 49.01 as lacking your usual faculties because of the use of “alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body.”
Some common reasons one might face public intoxication charges include:
- Getting too drunk at a bar and stumbling into other patrons
- Passing out at a nightclub because of alcohol or drug use
- Picking fights or otherwise threatening others while drunk
- Falling down stairs because of their level of intoxication
- Walking into traffic due to intoxication
Public intoxication is not as serious as driving while intoxicated or many other alcohol-related offenses; however, facing charges can still cost you thousands.
Understanding the Specific Details of Texas Penal Code Sec. 49.02
This section of Texas Penal Code makes being drunk or high in public a Class C misdemeanor. The courts treat minors between the ages of 17 and 21 the same as they treat adults who commit public intoxication, as directed under 49.02.
Public intoxication is a relatively minor charge but can affect your life in significant ways if convicted. While the penalties themselves may not be more serious than some traffic tickets, having an alcohol-related offense on your record can make it difficult to get your sentence probated or fight a more serious charge later on.
Penalties Associated with a Public Intoxication Conviction
Under Texas Penal Code Sec. 49.02, a first offense of public intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor. In Texas, the penalties associated with this type of charge includes a fine of up to $500. Per Texas Penal Code Sec. § 12.43, a fourth or subsequent offense will bring Class B misdemeanor charges.
If convicted, the judge may sentence you to up to 180 days of jail time and a fine not to exceed $2,000.
There Is an Exception to Texas Penal Code Sec. 49.02
While the definitions of “public” and “intoxication” are broadly defined as they apply to this section of the Texas Penal Code, there is one exception to this law.
If a licensed physician prescribed or administered a substance as a part of your medical treatment, this is a strong defense to a public intoxication charge. For example, doctors may prescribe strong cough syrups or painkillers that cause patients to lose their usual mental or physical faculties.
Talk to a Texas Public Intoxication Defense Attorney Today
If police ticketed you for public intoxication in Texas, the defense team from Eddington Worley can help. Let us review your case and offer advice on fighting the charges against you. Call us today at 855-600-6695 to get started.