What can i do about my public intoxications

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What can i do about my public intoxications

my cousins and i were kicked out of a club for fighting, as we walk to our vehicle we walk by officers , about 100 ft later we notice that the people we had encounters with us running at us with thier intentions to fight, i immediately get into self defense mode . but seconds after ,the officers mace every one around. i immediately drop to the ground, i then get told to stand still and get handcuffed and sat on the curb for a long while . with no water, after pleading for mercy they squirt me with just 1 squeeze of a water bottle( no help). i continue to plead for mercy. and all they say is u shouldn’t of fought. they then put me in thier police cruiser. and get left there for another long while. i was charged with public intoxication and spent a night in jail. I want to know if i have a good chance to fight this?, because i was not asked wat happened , not asked for id or name untill they got my information at the jail station. was not read my miranda rights, and if intoxicated , was not given a sobriety test or breathalyzer , as well as not asked if i was drinking. if asked they would of noticed that i was only 19 . though i did drink, i was in complete control of my body . I need help. What do i do. do i get an attorney

Asked on July 6, 2009 under Criminal Law, Texas


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

Answered 14 years ago | Contributor

Under Texas law, unlike in most states, it is against the law to be drunk, regardless of where you are or what you’re doing.  You don’t have to be driving, fighting, or causing any other problems in order to be cited for "Public Intoxication".  And unlike drunk driving laws, this PI law doesn’t define what constitutes being drunk.  Whether a person is or is not intoxicated is based on the officer's judgment; no field sobriety tests or breathalyzer must be administered.

The following is an excerpt from the Public Intoxication Statute of Texas:

Under 49.02 "Public Intoxication" the phrase "Public Intoxication" means:

"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."

"Intoxicated" is defined as: not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.

As to what "endanger" means is not clear.  The term is vague, at best.

Bottom line, this can a hard charge to defend against.  Couple that with your being thrown out of a bar for fighting and your "self-defense mode" and I think that you present a tough case.  However, I'm not licensed in Texas.  Your next step should be to consult with an attorney in your area on all of this.  Recite the facts of your case to them fully and see what they advise as to your best course of action on the charge.

The good news is that you are 19.  This offense is normally considered to be a Class C misdemeanor but for a minor the punishment terms are the same manner as if you committed the offense of Possession of Alcohol by a Minor.  The maximum penalty for an MIP is usually around $500, a suspended license until you are 21, and community service depending on your past history and the opinion of the judge.  The judges may be more lenient depending on your specific situation.

As to your Miranda rights, you need only be given the warning as such time as you are in custody and being questioned.  By your own admission, you were not asked what happened.


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