Defenses to Public Intoxication under PC 647(f)


When charged with a potentially serious crime such as public intoxication (PC 647(f)) in Los Angeles, you need an criminal defense attorney with experience in this field and within local courts in your area to represent you. The punishments for this crime could be disastrous towards your life and could continue to affect you in the future. An experienced public intoxication defense attorney will be able to help you get the fair treatment that you deserve, so that you receive the best possible outcome in your case. There are several defenses available to these charges that could result in a dismissal or reduction of your charge. Here are some successful defenses that our public intoxication lawyers at Wallin & Klarich can raise on your behalf:

PC 647(f) Defense 1: You were not willfully intoxicated

A Los Angeles conviction for public intoxication under California Penal Code Section 647(f)1 requires evidence that you were willfully under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or inhalants. A police officer is trained to recognize signs of intoxication and can detain you based on his or her opinion. However, if no chemical test was conducted, if a chemical test fails to show any measurable amount of alcohol, drugs, or inhalants in your system, or if you did not willfully consume alcohol or drugs (your soft drink was “spiked” without your knowledge), your public intoxication defense attorney may be able to capitalize on this lack of evidence and request a dismissal or reduction of the charge.

PC 647(f) Defense 2: You were not in a public place

PC 647(f) - Public Intoxication Defenses

PC 647(f) – Unable to show reasonable care for your own safety

In order to be convicted of public intoxication under PC 647(f) you must have been found in a public place at the time of the offense. If you were on private property, in your home or yard or on your patio for example, and did not step onto the sidewalk or into the street, your public intoxication defense attorney can argue that you were not in public and therefore you cannot be convicted of this crime in Los Angeles.

PC 647(f) Defense 3: You were able to care safely for yourself or others

Public intoxication requires a much higher level of inebriation than that of the objective standard set for DUI (California Vehicle Code 23152(b)2). Being above the  maximum limit of .08% blood alcohol level is not enough to be convicted of public intoxication or drunk in public. A reasonable person would have had to believe that you posed a substantial public safety risk in order to convict you of this offense. This is a subjective standard, open to interpretation. An experienced Los Angeles public intoxication defense attorney may be able to argue that the evidence against you does not meet this standard.

PC 647(f) Defense 4: You did not interfere with or obstruct any public way

If your Los Angeles public intoxication defense attorney can demonstrate that you were not interfering with or obstructing free access to a public way, your charge may be dismissed or reduced.

The public intoxication defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can help you

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If you or a loved one has been arrested for public intoxication under PC 647(f) in Los Angeles, you need to contact the criminal defense experts at Wallin & Klarich right away. With over 30 years of experience and offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, our experienced and professional public intoxication defense attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation of the facts and aggressively argue that your case should be dismissed.

Call today at 877-4-NO-JAIL or fill out our confidential form. We will be there when you call.


All of the information provided on this page was retrieved from the following sources:

1. California Penal Code Section 647: http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/647.html
2. California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b): http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc23152.htm

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