7 Important Things to Know About a Drunk in Public Charge in Virginia
A Drunk in Public charge in Virginia under Va. Code 18.2-388 is a very common charge, especially around the holidays. Although common, it still needs to be taken seriously, as it is a crime. The legal guide below lists 7 important things to keep in mind about a Drunk in Public charge in Virginia.
A Drunk in Public Charge in Virginia is a CRIMEAlthough a Drunk in Public charge under Va. Code 18.2-388 is not punished with any jail time, it is still a crime. It is a Class 4 misdemeanor and is punished with a fine up to $250.
A Conviction Can Never be ExpungedIf an offender is convicted of a Virginia Drunk in Public charge, that conviction will remain on his permanent criminal record and can NEVER be expunged. Virginia does not allow expungements of any criminal convictions, no matter how minor. Additionally, pre-paying the fine for a Drunk in Public charge in Virginia and avoiding going to court is an admission of guilt to the offense which will give the offender a permanent criminal record.
You Can Be ARRESTED for Being Dunk in Public in VirginiaEven though a Drunk in Public charge in Virginia under Va. Code 18.2-388 is not punished with any jail time, a police officer is authorized to take a person to jail to sober up if he has probable cause to believe the person is drunk in public. The person will be held until the officer feels the person is no longer intoxicated
Intoxication is a Broad TermIntoxication for purposes of a Drunk in Public charge in Virginia means a condition in which a person has consumed enough intoxicants to observably affect his manner, disposition, speech, muscular movement, general appearance or behavior.
Intoxication Can be From Alcohol OR DrugsA person can be convicted of a Drunk in Public charge in Virginia under Va. Code 18.2-388 if he is intoxicated from alcohol OR drugs. The statute includes being intoxicated from a narcotic drug or other intoxicant or drug of whatever nature. Even if someone has a prescription, if he is in public and intoxicated from using that substance, he can be convicted of being Drunk in Public in Virginia.
Police Do Not Need to Give a Breath TestContrary to popular belief, the police do NOT need to offer a person a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) in order to convict a person of being drunk in public in Virginia. If there is enough other evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that a person has consumed enough alcohol or drugs to affect his manner, disposition, speech, muscular movement, general appearance or behavior, he can be convicted of a Virginia Drunk in Public charge under Va. Code 18.2-388.
A Person Can be Drunk in Public on His Own Property!The word "public" in the Drunk in Public statute is interpreted quite broadly. "In public" means a place open and visible to the public. Therefore, if someone is intoxicated and on his front porch, he can be convicted of bring Drunk in Public in Virginia.
Additional resources provided by the author
- Virginia Public Intoxication Charge
- Is Being Drunk in Public a Crime in Virginia?
- What Does "Public" in the Virginia Drunk in Public Charge Mean?
- What Does "Intoxicated" Mean in the Virginia Intoxicated in Public Statute?
- What Does Intoxicated Really Mean in Virginia?
- Preliminary Breath Test in Virginia
- Can I Be Convicted of Being Drunk in Public in Virginia Without a Breath Test?
- Expungement in Virginia
- Can I Pre-Pay a Fine for a Drunk in Public Charge in Virginia?
- Do I Have to Go to Court for a Drunk in Public Charge in Virginia?
- Can I Be Convicted of Being Drunk in Public on My Own Property in Virginia?
- Misdemeanors in Virginia