San Luis Obispo Public Intoxication Attorneys & Drunk-in-Public Defense Lawyers

Aggressive Criminal & DUI Defense Attorneys based out of San Luis Obispo & Santa Maria.

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35+ Years of Combined Experience

Personalized Criminal & DUI Defense

Drunk in public charges, also known as Public Intoxication, and also known as Disorderly Conduct charges, are common in San Luis Obispo. It is safe to assume that San Luis Obispo generates a significant amount of revenue by charging individuals with these crimes. Unfortunately, these charges are often brought against individuals who are not actually engaged in any criminal activity, thereby violating their rights. If you are being charged with a violation of Penal Code Section 647 (f) in San Luis Obispo we can help.


In order be be guilty of a violation of PC 647 (f) one must be willfully intoxicated, in a public place, and be so intoxicated that they are unable to care for themselves or pose a safety risk to others. Alternatively you need to be so intoxicated that you are blocking a public street, or walk way.

These elements of the crime of Public “Intoxication” are specific and they are intended to avoid a serious or extreme situation. The phrase “public intoxication” is somewhat misleading. Simply, being under the influence of alcohol (intoxicated), whether you are buzzed or actually drunk, and being in a public place is not enough to make you guilty of a violation of penal code section 647 (f). To meet the requirements for this charge one must be SO intoxicated that they are unable to care for themselves or are a danger to others. Most people, even when they are clearly drunk, are still able to care for themselves and do not pose an immediate safety risk to others.

Why Fight a Charge of Public intoxication? Why Hire A San Luis Obispo Public Intoxication Attorney?

You should fight a charge of PC 647 (f) with the help of an experienced San Luis Obispo Criminal Defense Attorney for at least the following Reasons:
1. Avoid a Criminal Record / Conviction.
2. Stay Off Probation
3. Minimize the Punishments Imposed for PC 647 (f) violations
4. An Attorney Can Go to Court for You, Saving You the Time and Embarrassment.
5. Because These Cases Can Often Be Won.
6. Because Hiring an Attorney for A SLO Public Intoxication Case is Relatively Inexpensive.

One of the most important reasons to fight a charge of 647 (f) is to avoid having such a charge on your criminal record. Violations of Penal Code Section 647 (f) are misdemeanor charges. Having such a conviction on your record can prevent you from getting certain professional licenses, prevent you from being hired for a job, cause you to fail certain background checks, and prevent you from being accepted into school programs. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is best to avoid the conviction in the first place than it is to try to mitigate the problem after the conviction is on your record. Hiring a criminal defense attorney maximizes your chance of success.

As Public Intoxication charges are misdemeanors, a conviction will almost always result in a term of probation. Being on probation means that if you get in trouble again, during your probation period, you will face possible jail time. Probation is particularly risky for those who like to go and and drink and party as it is easy for those situations to lead to events that cause a violation of probation. In fact, sometimes one of the terms of probation will be to consume no alcohol. That means if you drink at all, you have violated probation. You should do all that you can to avoid being placed on probation. In our experience, PC 647 (f) charges can be beaten or at least reduced to an infraction which does not carry the penalty of probation.  In other instances, these cases may be dismissed in exchange for taking classes.  This means no criminal conviction on your record!

One nice advantage of having a private attorney represent you against a charge of being drunk in public or public intoxication is that your attorney can appear in court on your behalf. This allows you to go to work or go to school without interruption. This also allows you to avoid the stress and embarrassment of going to court and facing a judge.

One of the best reasons to fight a charge of PC 647 (f) is that these cases can be won. In our experience good things happen when you stand up for your rights. Many PC 647 (f) cases get dismissed (usually with the requirement of a class) or reduced to infractions when they are properly challenged. As discussed above, many people are arrested for being publicly intoxicated who do not actually meet the legal requirements for a proper conviction of penal code section 647.

Should You Fight Your Case Even if You Believe You Are Guilty of Being Drunk in Public?

The answer to this question is “YES”. The reason for this is that in many circumstances, we are able to arrange a plea bargain that is far better than a misdemeanor conviction. So, even if you believe you are guilty, that does not mean an attorney cannot work out a better plea bargain for you than you would get by simply showing up to court and pleading guilty. Even if you feel like you were drunk in public and you were properly charged, an attorney can often do damage control and arrange a settlement that is far better than you would get by automatically pleading guilty.

These charges are always worth fighting.

WARNING: Under 21 Violation of PC 647(f) = One Year Drivers License Suspension

Section 13202.5 of the California Vehicle Code states that anyone under the age of 21 (but over the age of 13) who is convicted of a violation of Penal Code section 647 (f) will have their drivers license suspended for one year.

IF You Are Being Charged With Being Drunk in Public, Call Us For a Free Case Evaluation

One of our San Luis Obispo Defense Attorneys are more than happy to review your case with you either over the phone or in person. The evaluation is absolutely free. And should you chose to hire us to help you, our fees are very reasonable for Public Intoxication / Drunk in Public Cases.

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