Can the authorities bring me to a public place and then cite me for public intoxication?

UPDATED: Feb 3, 2014

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Can the authorities bring me to a public place and then cite me for public intoxication?

I got charged with public intoxication on 2 accounts in 1 night. I was brought to a hospital where I received treatment, then I became unruly and was cited again for public intoxication.

Asked on February 3, 2014 under Criminal Law, Iowa


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Public Intoxication: Basic Elements of the Criminal Charge By definition, a public intoxication charge usually has a number of elements, all of which must be met, including: 1. You appear or seem to be; 2. Drunk or intoxicated; and 3. You are in public. Many states also require prosecutors to prove that you seem so out of control that you don't appear to be able to take care of yourself, or that you present a threat to the safety of others. If you walk out of a bar or restaurant appearing tipsy, boisterous, behaving in a lewd manner, or swearing, there is a good chance that you may be stopped by the local police on public intoxication charges. In many states, public intoxication offenses do not even require that you are drunk to be convicted of the charge. You simply have to appear drunk or high on drugs, even if that's not the case. Your behavior and demeanor will be a key component of the charges. Another key element of any public intoxication charge is that you must actually be in public. What makes a place public? Is it located on government owned property? Is it a private facility where people gather, like a mall or sports stadium, or is it on private property that you own and out-of-view of your neighbors? There is no single legal definition of a public place. Determining the public or private nature of the place where you received a public intoxication charge is the type of issue that courts examine in public intoxication cases. Public Intoxication: Defenses and Exceptions If you are accused of being publicly intoxicated, your lawyer may be able to raise legal defenses. Here are some of the defenses to public intoxication charges: You Are Not Drunk And Are Not Acting Drunk An affirmative defense to charges of being drunk and disorderly is that you were not actually behaving in a drunken manner in public. You may claim your loud behavior was due to enthusiasm over a promotion or excitement that your team won a sports contest. The burden of proving this defense remains on the person accused of the crime.

Answer: Based upon what you have written, you can be legally charged on two counts for being drunk in public at two separate places on the same night. I suggest that you consult with a criminal defense attorney in your locality. One can be found on

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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