I was recently arrested for public intoxication after my friend was pulled over about 100 feet from his home. I was a passenger and had consumed 2 mixed drinks before being driven home . Both of the arresting officers had body cameras and there's no way I could be considered a danger and I have no criminal record at all. One officer asked me to step out after my friend had also been asked the same and after talking with the officer, I was arrested and imprisoned over night and released on a PR bond. All of this appears extremely harsh and not proper but I've been told this sort of conviction is difficult to contest. Is there any point fighting this or spending lots of money on a lawyer (Cheapest one here is around $1,500)?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Nij, feetwet Apr 4 '17 at 16:18

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    Hiring a lawyer with respect to a criminal charge is almost always worth it if you can afford one. If the criminal lawyer can't add value worth paying for, the lawyer will usually tell you in an initial phone call or meeting. – ohwilleke Mar 27 '17 at 20:37
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    One value in fighting the accusation is the possibility of avoiding a criminal record, for a Class C misdemeanor (i.e. it's not like a speeding ticket). – user6726 Mar 27 '17 at 21:17
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    This question is unclear. You will have to appear in court, at which point you can plead not guilty, at which point the state has to prove at trial that you are guilty of the charge. If you don't believe you are guilty, you should certainly "fight it" in that manner. You can "fight" by negotiating with the DA, or drawing public attention to your case in an effort to pressure the cops and/or DA not to pursue unpopular charges. And you can "fight" by representing yourself in court pro se, or by seeking pro bono defense if your situation seems sufficiently unjust. – feetwet Mar 28 '17 at 16:05
  • @user6726: I'm not sure your comment "it's not like a speeding ticket" is how you intended. In Texas, a speeding ticket IS exactly a class C misdemeanor. They are considered criminal here in Texas, and if you are cited for speeding, you can get a jury trial for them. Many people who've been found guilty for speeding here I guess have a criminal record. Tho in Texas you can't be jailed for speeding. – mark b Mar 28 '17 at 21:42
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    @markb, okay, so it's not like a speeding ticket elsewhere – user6726 Mar 28 '17 at 21:58

I'm guessing when you say 'public intoxication' you mean this:

§ 49.02. PUBLIC INTOXICATION. (a) 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.


(c) Except as provided by Subsection (e), an offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

In Texas, a Class C misdemeanor is like a speeding ticket, or a theft by check of a small amount offense (Yes, speeding tickets in Texas ARE class C misdemeanors).

So you might want to see if there is a fine and what the city wants in terms of the fine. If you want to pay it, you'll have it on your record.

If it were me, I'd show up to the arraignment and then ask the prosecutor to agree to deferred adjudication and a few hundred dollar fine. Deferred means you promise to not get another citation for public intoxication for the next several months (whatever you can get the judge to agree with - which is typically 3 to 6 months) and then they'll dismiss your case - but only after you pay a disposition fee, which is likely a few hundred dollars more than the fine you'd pay, plus court costs.

But if they balked I'd make them give me a jury trial, and fight it pro se (on your own). If you truly only had 2 drinks and the video showed that you were a passenger, and weren't (as the law states) "intoxicated to the degree that the person may endanger the person or another" then I'd ask for a not guilty verdict from the jury based on that.

If you really want to be sure to keep it off your record, then hiring an attorney might be best, but I think in that case all he'd do is ask the prosecutor to agree to deferred disposition and then ask the judge to agree to it.

  • Please do not use codeblock when quoteblocks should be used. – Nij Mar 29 '17 at 6:42

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