Sometimes, when military service members choose to relax on their off-days, alcohol consumption is involved. While we can all understand a service member’s want to rest and relax, and agree that they certainly deserve this opportunity, matters can quickly get out of hand if there is excessive consumption of alcohol. Out of all the reasons a military member could face either civilian or military criminal charges and relevant repercussions, public intoxication – or drunk in public – is up there among the most common.
In order to be arrested for public intoxication, two elements of the crime must generally be fulfilled:
- Public: As the name suggests, you actually need to appear in public. This, however, could include sitting in a vehicle, or even being in private yard viewable to areas ordinarily accessible by the public.
- Intoxicated: If your behavior is altered in any way by alcohol’s presence in your system, you can be considered intoxicated. Police are not required to offer a breath or sobriety test – they can arrest based simply off of their observations of your speech, behavior, and mannerisms.
If a service member is arrested for public intoxication, the penalties can essentially be double that of what non-military personnel could face. On top of fines and jail time, a military member can face dishonor and ridicule within their unit or command, and could be subjected to administrative or non-judicial punishment, possibly losing rank or facing an administrative separation action.
Defense Against Drunk in Public Claims
Do not think that there is no way to defend yourself if you are arrested for public intoxication. Although it might seem difficult, an uphill battle is never guaranteed to be unwinnable. You need to work with a trusted military criminal defense attorney who can craft a reliable defense.
Attorney Greg McCormack of McCormack & McCormack can explore your defense options, which may include:
- Intoxication: Many public intoxication arrests will be based on behaviors a police officer observes. Actual blood alcohol or sobriety tests are often not conducted at all, which creates the opportunity to argue that you were never intoxicated.
- Harmlessness: People who are technically intoxicated due to their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level but cause zero real disturbances sometimes are cut a break by the court at trial. Often times, our attorneys can present evidence mitigating the circumstances to the judge, which may result in the charges being dismissed.
- Involuntarily public: In many public intoxication cases, the defendant did not wish to be in a public place but was instead ordered there by the officer, such as the case when they are told to step outside of their own house for police questioning. This can sometimes be a valid defense.
Were you arrested or detained for public intoxication while either on or off base? Let Military Criminal Defense Attorney Greg McCormack stand by your side and defend your rights and military career. With more than 36 years of experience handling all manners of criminal cases in defense of military personnel, he has gained a strong reputation as a premier lawyer from coast-to-coast.