Sentencing and Punishment for Public Intoxication – California Penal Code 647(f)


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The sentencing and punishment for a public intoxication conviction under California Penal Code 647(f) is up to 180 days in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1000.00. If the circumstances are serious and/or you are a repeat offender, a conviction can result in mandatory jail time, probation, attendance at self-help meetings and/or community service. If you or a loved one has been convicted of this crime , it is critical that you understand the importance of hiring an experienced attorney in this field. An experienced attorney will ensure that you are given fair treatment in punishment for this crime and will dedicate his or her time and energy in pursuit of the best possible outcome for your case. Do not hesitate to hire an experienced attorney today; your future depends on it.

Read on to learn more about the sentencing and punishment for public intoxication in California.

If prosecutors convict you of your third “drunk in public” offense in within a twelve-month period, you face punishment for public intoxication of a minimum 90-day county jail sentence. However, the court can suspend this penalty if you alternatively spend 60 days in an alcohol treatment and recovery program.

Under California Penal Code 647(g)1, if you are detained for being drunk in public, you may be placed in civil protective custody while you “sober up” and you could avoid criminal prosecution, unless:

  • You were under the influence of any drug, or a combination of alcohol and drugs.
  • A peace officer has probable cause to believe you committed any felony or other misdemeanor in addition to being under the influence.
  •    A peace officer in good faith believes you would attempt escape or will be unreasonably difficult for medical personnel to control.

Probation Terms

Meeting with probation officer

Often, the court has the option to sentence you to a term of probation following your initial punishment for public intoxication, with or without having to serve some jail time. When you are placed on probation the court will impose specific terms of probation that apply as a resulted of the crime for which you were convicted. These terms of probation may include:

  1. Violate no law (other than a traffic infraction)
  2. Random alcohol and/or drug testing
  3. Mandatory attendance at self help meetings

These are only some of the probation terms that a court can impose. If you are found to be in violation of any of these terms, the court can sentence you to the maximum time allowed by law to assure that you receive “proper” punishment for public intoxication probation violation.

Underage Drinking

If you are under age 21, and you are convicted for public intoxication in California, you can also lose your driver’s license for one year as further punishment for public intoxication (California Vehicle Code 13202.52). If you do not have a driver’s license, the court will order the Department of Motor Vehicles to delay issuing you a driver’s license for one year subsequent to the time you become legally eligible to drive.

Some Southern California communities have passed “Social Host” ordinances, making it a misdemeanor crime, punishable by a $1000.00 fine, for anyone 21 years or older to permit underage drinking in certain situations. Additionally, you may be held liable in a civil lawsuit in the event an underage drinker causes injury to a third party.

Find an experienced public intoxication defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich

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Contact the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today if you have been charged with public intoxication

If you or someone you care about is facing punishment for public intoxication charges in California, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer at Wallin & Klarich right away.

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Los Angeles, West Covina, Torrance and San Diego, Wallin & Klarich has over 40 years of experience in defending our clients against public intoxication charges. Our highly skilled and professional lawyers will carefully review the evidence against you to help you to win your case.

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:
2. California Vehicle Code Section 13202.5:

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