The offense of “Public Intoxication” occurs in Texas when a person is so intoxicated in public they pose a danger to themselves or others. This is a relatively high burden, and police officers often do not – or cannot – articulate why they believed a person was a danger to themselves or others.
It’s not uncommon for officers to arrest individuals for PI if they are riding in the car of a someone arrested for DWI; if they are leaving a bar and seem to have trouble walking; or if they appear intoxicated and are walking toward a vehicle.
Intoxication, for purposes of public intoxication charges, is not related to a particular blood alcohol concentration (BAC). While officers may ask an individual to take a field sobriety test or breathalyzer, the truth is they don’t need a blood alcohol concentration to make an arrest for Public Intoxication. See Penal Code Section 49.02 for more information.
A public intoxication charge is a Class C misdemeanor. Although jail time is not a possibility as punishment, paying a fine on a public intoxication citation will result in a conviction on your record.
Under Texas law, a public place means any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, highways, and the common areas of schools, hospitals, apartment houses, office buildings, transport facilities, and shops.
A public intoxication charge in Texas is punishable by a fine of up to $500. Additional penalties apply to individuals under the age of 21. If you have two prior convictions for public intoxication, your third offense becomes a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine.
As a result, anyone facing charges for public intoxication in Fort Worth should consider reaching out to a lawyer for assistance.