Some things are obvious when it comes to laws about intoxication. For example, everyone knows that driving under the influence is illegal. However, there are some common misunderstandings about public intoxication laws in Texas.
Each state has its own rules about public drunkenness. Some states do not even prohibit it at all. There is a law against public intoxication in Texas, but only when there is a risk of endangerment.
Details and definitions
According to the Texas penal code, you commit the offense of public intoxication if you appear drunk in public to a degree that you may pose a danger to yourself or other people. The risk of danger is often left to the discretion of the police officer who arrests you. Under the law, intoxication means having a BAC of at least 0.08%, which is the standard level for a DWI charge. Both intoxication and endangerment must be a factor in order to support a public intoxication charge.
Additionally, a “public place” means anywhere that members of the public can access. This includes places like office buildings, hospitals and schools.
Texas considers public intoxication a misdemeanor offense. This means you may face a potential fine of $500. In certain cases, an arresting officer may release an individual to a treatment facility or detox center instead of jail.
Just because you are facing charges for illegal intoxication does not guarantee you will be found guilty. You may be able to provide evidence of not being a danger or intoxicated at all.
This information is not legal advice – it exists only for educational purposes.