Do I need an attorney for a public intoxication case?

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Do I need an attorney for a public intoxication case?

I’m a 26 year old female. I have 1 prior DUI that was from a few years back. Nothing else on my record. College graduate; working 2 jobs. I was cited for public intoxication and “Theft of services” (never heard of such a thing) a few weekends ago. A cab driver ordered me out of his cab after calling the city police; I told him he would have to wait in my driveway while I got more money to pay him. I was breathalyzed at a .18. Went to the cab company the following morning and paid the 7 bucks. I pled not guilty on my citation.

Asked on January 31, 2011 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Since you have a previous alcohol related offense, you should definitely hire a criminal defense attorney.  Judges are typically very concerned about issues such as public intoxication and tend to order rather stiff penalties. In PA a charge of Public Intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.Having an attorney to represent is the best way to ensure all the facts of your case are heard. Additionally, they can provide information to the court as any mitigating factors that should be considered.  Finally, a lawyer can bring witnesses forward to speak on your behalf.

While it may seem simple (and less expensive) to plead guilty and complete some community service and counseling, having a Public Intoxication charge on your criminal record can have serious consequences. And keep in mind that sentencing becomes progressively harsher with charges already on your record.


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