What to do about a public drunkeness charge?

A few weekends ago I was cited for public drunkenness. I am 22 years old. I was walking with some friends at around 3 am when a policeman pulled over to see if we were causing trouble. I’m not exactly sure what happened but the lights were disorienting and I passed out and fell to the ground. I immediately came to after contact with the pavement. The police took this as evidence of intoxication and refused to give me a sobriety test. I was taken to the hospital and was told my bac was between .07 and .08. I pled not guilty. Do I need an attorney?

Asked on May 29, 2012 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania


Andrew Goldberg

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Public Drunkenness is a summary offense. It is the equivalent of a traffic ticket. You can defend yourself. You do not need a lawyer. If you lose at the District Court level, you will have 30 days to file an appeal with the local Court of Common Pleas.The Commonwealth must prove you were under the influence of alcohol and to a degree that "you amy endanger yourself:  ( i.e., you  passed out and fell down ). The max. fine is $300. If you plea guilty, you may be able to negotiate a much lower fine and a payment schedule. Good luck.

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