Skip to main content

What are my chances of beating a drunk in public charge? It was at night in the backyard- no lights were on and no one could see

Richmond, VA |

I pleaded no contest to this charge last week but I am appealing this charge because I am on probation in another county and if I am found guilty of this, the commonwealth will issue a show cause. My charges in the other county are domestic assault(1st offenders) and possession of marijuana (1st offenders). If I stay out of trouble, these will go away but I did receive the DIP charge that I am appealing. What is a show cause? Would I likely go to jail in the other county for a DIP? A DIP is not a big deal but it is for me because of my probation. I have complied with all other aspects of my probation. All fines are paid, the probation office has been paid, I completed all community service, and completed and paid for all classes.

I did notify my probation officer as soon as I got the charge in July 2012. At the time of the charge, I wasn't doing anything. I was in the backyard ( I did not have a container or anything) when the police came into the backyard and placed me in handcuffs to "detain me for safety". The reason the police were there in the first place was because my family member was drunk and ran from the police (felony eluding). So then they came back to his residence after they already had him in custody (where I was staying the night) and saw me in the backyard and put me in handcuffs for safety and then later arrested me for DIP. The probation officer isn't worried about the DIP. She isn't trying to violate me but the commonwealth is. I am hoping to beat this charge, but if not, would could I possibly face in the other county??

+ Read More

Attorney answers 2


First a "show cause" is essentially an allegation that you violated your probation on your DA and Poss of MJ charges. Even if you are not actively being supervised, you are still required to remain of "general good behavior" and not violate "any" laws. When you get convicted of a new charge (and in theory even charged), you are required to come before the court and "show cause" why either your suspended sentence should not be imposed or (which may be your case) a conviction should not be entered on the underlying charge. You should fight the drunk in public charge because: 1) it would be a basis for a show cause (even if the PO doesnt violate you, the CA or court can pursue one), 2) why not - its only punishable by a fine, and 3) you MAY have a defense.

To be convicted of the DIP, you must be "drunk" (or intoxicated) and "in public" (this is defined more precisely by case law, but could be your back yard if viewable by the public). You should get an attorney to review the case with you and go to trial if the CA is not willing to do anything. I'm not saying you have a winner, but you should certainly try.

Best of luck,

James S. Abrenio

This answer does not create a attorney/client relationship, but is intended solely in the court of discussion. It is always my recommendation to retain an attorney whenever a court appearance is necessary. This recommendation is highlighted when it relates to an individual's criminal record.


The DIP is only punishable by a fine, but a conviction could cause you to lose the benefit of the 1st offender opportunities in your other cases because it is technically a violation of your good behavior conditions.

You did the right thing by appealing the charge. You may have a triable case, and you should consult an attorney. You have nothing to lose by doing so, and lots to gain!

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer