Drunk in Public: Big Deal or Not in Los Angeles?
You were out with friends, had a few drinks and ended up getting drunk. Is that really a crime? The truth is, it could be considered a misdemeanor offense.
In California, the law specifically mentions the crime of “drunk in public,” also referred to as DIP. According to California Penal Code 647(f), you could be viewed as drunk in public if you are unable to exercise care for your safety or for the safety of others. You could also be charged with this offense if, in your drunken state, you blocked or prevented people from using streets, sidewalks, and other public ways.
Public intoxication might not seem like a big deal, especially since it is generally a misdemeanor, or minor offense. However, think about it this way – a misdemeanor is still a crime. That means it will go down on your criminal record. Oftentimes, “drunk in public” is accompanied by other charges, such as assault and battery.
Public Intoxication Repercussions
So, how bad is public intoxication in Los Angeles? If you heard about the story of well-known pop star Christina Aguilera, you probably think the punishment can’t be all that bad. She was arrested last year near the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood for suspected public intoxication. Aguilera was released on a $250 bail after she was able to pass a sobriety test. In Aguilera’s situation, the deputies chose to detain her until she sobered up and she was not prosecuted. However, not everyone is so lucky.
If you have been charged with public intoxication, you could be looking at up to 6 months in jail. But that’s not all. You might also have to pay a substantial fine.