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What Are the Penalties for Public Intoxication?

Alcohol plays a major role in our society, especially in Texas. Here, it’s common to drink at all types of places including sports bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and backyard barbeques. And since so much of our alcohol is legally purchased from licensed establishments, we’re frequently drinking in public.

The problem is, once you pass a certain threshold in alcohol consumption while you’re in public, you can be violating Section 49.02 of the Texas Penal Code, Public Intoxication. This is one offense that normal, everyday people commit regularly and often, they’re not aware that they’re breaking the law.

Defining Public Intoxication in Texas

Sec. 49.02(a) of the Texas Penal Code reads: “A person commits an offense if the person appears in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that the person may endanger the person or another.”

Examples of how a person can be charged with public intoxication:

  • A man is stumbling in a bar and falls on a table where people are seated.
  • A woman at a nightclub is so intoxicated, she stumbles down the stairs knocking three people to the ground.
  • A man at a bar-restaurant has had a few too many drinks and he loses his balance and knocks a woman over.
  • A drunk man at a nightclub is staggering and trying to pick a fight with the bartenders and cocktail waitresses.
  • At an outdoor concert, an intoxicated woman passes out in a crowd of thousands, placing herself and others at risk as she lays unconscious on the ground.

Related: Can Texans Buy Booze at Walmart and Costco?

In Texas, public intoxication is charged as a Class C misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.

If you’re facing criminal charges under Sec. 49.02 for being intoxicated in public, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC for a legal defense. You do not want the stigma of a criminal record affecting your future!