We all know the situation: it’s a Saturday night and you are out with friends watching a game, having a couple of beers – or maybe more than a couple. In general, this seems pretty innocent, but in Claremore, Oklahoma, public intoxication can land you in jail.
Public Intoxication is an Old Problem
Almost every jurisdiction in the nation has laws on the books prohibiting public intoxication. Intoxication, whether from alcohol or any other type of drug, is often linked with poor judgment and arrest. Intoxication is linked with domestic abuse, with assault and battery, and with a slew of other crimes. There is a genuine public safety concern with keeping public intoxication levels at bay in the community.
Current Oklahoma law states that any person who is drunk or intoxicated in any public or private road, or in any other public area such as a streetcar, or any public place or building, or at any public gathering, is guilty of a misdemeanor. Okla. Stat. tit. 37 § 8. The crime is punishable by a fine of as little as $10 to as much as $100. And you could be sentenced to jail time of from as few as five days to as many as 30 days.
This statute both prohibits public intoxication when a person is disturbing the peace of another, and consuming any intoxicant in a public place, unless that place is licensed to sell alcohol.
While 30 days in jail seems a minor punishment in comparison to a sentence imposed for any felony in Oklahoma, it is still enough time out of work to cause you serious financial trouble. You could lose your job or be unable to pay your bills, including rent.
Public Intoxication: Limitations to Arrest
There are some limited protections regarding public intoxication under Oklahoma law. A drunk person (the statute limits this to alcohol) is protected from arrest if the officer, considering all facts and circumstances, reasonably believes that the drunk person requested medical assistance for another due to their alcohol consumption and the person remained at the scene with that individual, cooperated with medical and law enforcement personnel and the person provided all relevant identifying information or other information requested by the police officer at the scene. Okla. Stat. tit. 37 § 8a.
Law enforcement can choose to place a drunk and disorderly person into protective custody with that person’s permission. Protective custody can mean being transported to your own home, to another facility, or to a treatment facility. Okla. Stat. tit. 43A § 3-428. This is not an arrest, but the officer may take you to jail if there is either no facility available or if you refuse to give your consent to a facility.
If you are intoxicated and unconscious, or if you are a possible danger to others, the police can take you into protective custody until you either regain consciousness or are no longer a danger to others. If this protective custody exceeds 12 hours, then the police must either obtain your consent to further custody or file a petition for a civil commitment to detain you longer. Okla. Stat. tit. 43A § 3-428.
If you or a loved one are facing intoxication charges, there is help out there for you. Hire an experienced Claremore criminal defense attorney to protect your freedom.
Free Consultation With An Experienced Claremore Criminal Defense Attorney
We at the Claremore Lawyer want to help you. Don’t delay. Call us today. We pride ourselves on providing the best possible legal representation at reasonable prices. And the initial consultation is free. Call us at (918) 213-0950. If you prefer written correspondence, submit your question using the form at the top right of this page.