June 6, 2013 By Paul Wallin

Recently, one of our attorneys helped his client maintain his employment with the US Merchants Marine Academy after having charges of disorderly conduct dismissed. Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney, Andrei F. Lapine, convinced the district attorney to allow his client to plead guilty to a minor charge of disturbing the peace. If convicted under PC 647(f), the client faced up to 6 months in county jail, a $1,000 fine, and potential termination by the U.S. Merchants Marine Academy.

Andrei F. Lapine, Criminal Defense Attorney
Andrei F. Lapine

“Despite the fact that the district attorney had a solid case against our client, we were still able to achieve a favorable result,” claimed Mr. Lapine. “With proper legal representation, it is possible to attain a good result even when the prosecution has a solid case. The client kept a clean criminal record, kept his job, and was very grateful for the work that we did.”

Arrested for Drunk in Public

A police officer was dispatched to a location where there was a report of an individual who was drunk in public. When the officer responded, he located the client lying in a dirt field. The client was unresponsive to the questions that the officer asked. Furthermore, the client allegedly had bloodshot eyes, smelled of alcohol, and had difficulty standing. The officer caught the client and prevented him from falling backwards. The officer determined that the client was too intoxicated to care for himself and arrested him pursuant to PC 647(f).

As part of his merchant marine duties, the client was required to have a U.S. Merchant Mariner’s Credential issued by the federal government. A conviction under PC 647(f) would have required the client to report the conviction to the federal government, which could have impacted his credential and jeopardized his job.

In light of the overwhelming evidence against his client, Mr. Lapine advised the district attorney of the potential impact a conviction would have on his client’s employment. After engaging in significant negotiations, Mr. Lapine persuaded the district attorney to allow his client to plead guilty to a reduced charge of disturbing the peace. The district attorney agreed to charge the offense as an infraction on the condition that the client completes 24 AA meetings and pays a $175 fine.

As a result of Mr. Lapine’s skillful tactics, the client kept his clean criminal record intact and maintained his employment with the U.S. Merchants Marine Academy.

What is Disorderly Conduct?

Disorderly conduct, also known as public intoxication, is a misdemeanor crime. The experienced attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are familiar with all of the elements that the prosecutor needs to prove in order to convict you of disorderly conduct. The prosecutor must prove the following elements:

  • You were willfully under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or a controlled substance;


  • You were in a public place while under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or a controlled substance;


  • You were unable to exercise care for your safety or the safety of others;


    • You interfered with, obstructed, or prevented the free use of a street, sidewalk, or other public way because you were under the influence.

An accusation of disorderly conduct pursuant to PC 647(f) does not necessarily lead to a conviction. Disorderly conduct laws can be subjective since the arrest is often based solely on the police officer’s opinion. The experienced attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can raise a number of successful defenses on your behalf. These may include the following:

  • Lack of Danger to Self or Others
    • The prosecutor may not convict you for disorderly conduct if you are intoxicated, but do not present a danger to yourself or others.
  • Not a Public Place
    • Even if you were intoxicated and did present a danger to yourself or others, you cannot be convicted for disorderly conduct if you were in a non-public place, such as your apartment.
  • Did Not Obstruct a Public Way
    • You may potentially avoid a conviction for disorderly conduct if you were not obstructing a public street, sidewalk, or any other public way.


Do You Need An Attorney?

No matter what type of criminal case you are being charged with, you need to contact and attorney that can answer your questions. Will you lose your job? Will you go to jail? Can you get your case dismissed? Call us today for a free consultation at 877-466-5245. Let us answer some of your concerns and tell you what is in the best interest for you case.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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