Avoid a Public Intoxication Charge on St. Patrick’s Day

Irish Americans and those that wish they were Irish all over America celebrated today St. Patrick Day and reconnected with their roots.   Popularized by Irish immigrant communities, festivities have grown throughout the U.S. and usually include traditional Irish food, drinking green beer or other types of alcohol and wearing green.

Alcohol-oriented celebrations are usually monitored pretty heavily by law enforcement, not only for safety but also for giving citations when the behavior sometimes merits it.  This means that on St. Patrick’s Day there are lots of tickets given for having open containers of alcohol during celebrations that spill into open spaces such as parades and parties on the street, public intoxication and of course DWI or DUIs.  Last year alone Dallas saw over 22,360 arrests for public intoxication and police are even adding new procedures to make the process of arrest for this infraction more uniform.

We offer our top 5 ways to avoid a public intoxication ticket on this most Irish of holidays:

1. Don’t go out in public while intoxicated. I know, I know – it’s obvious but it’s true for the most part. There are occasions when mistakes happen but by and large this is the best way to avoid getting a PI ticket.

2. If you are with someone that is pulled over for a suspected DWI / DUI and you are a passenger in the car, don’t get out of the car and if possible limit your comments to the officers while being respectful. Especially if you have been drinking. Technically riding in a car on a street or highway, then yes, you are in the “public” and can get a ticket for being intoxicated. Officers usually don’t give tickets unless you get involved in their process but once you get out, get involved in a negative way or if they want to, they can give you a ticket for public intoxication.

3. If you have to go to the restroom, while intoxicated, find a public restroom or use one in the establishment where you are staying.  Don’t pee in public.  Public urination is a Class C misdemeanor in Texas and it is one of the tools that are often used by police officers to determine the inebriation level of people. College Students and young adults are often targeted and find themselves facing not only public intoxication charges but also can face a much steeper charge of public indecency.

4. Often once you have been drinking, the choices for getting yourself safely home can be limited to a designated driver or a cab. Don’t walk around outside while intoxicated. The best ways to go are directly, calmly and quietly. As you know, sometimes after drinking a bit, the festivities of the event can get under your skin and the desire to keep the party going can carry with you and if you are walking home or to the next party, the loudness and rowdy behavior can draw the attention of police officers.

5. Avoid fights. Passions can get high when alcohol is involved. Many times perceived events are skewed and thus a fight can break out. It’s best to not be involved either in the event or watching. In a large crowd, police will get involved and this means that those around the event will be scrutinized. It’s better for you and your record if you aren’t involved.

We hope you have a great holiday and stay safe. If you happen to run afoul of the law and need the help of an attorney to help you fight a public intoxication ticket, a DWI/DUI arrest, a MIP (Minor in Possession) or even a public urination ticket, don’t hesitate to contact us.