Public Intoxication

The Crime

In Tennessee, the act of being drunk in public should not result in a conviction for public intoxication unless certain aggravating factors are present. A person may be convicted of Public Intoxication if the state prosecutor proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was in a public place and under the influence of an intoxicant to such a degree that:

  1. The offender may have been endangered; or
  2. There was endangerment to other persons or property; or
  3. The offender unreasonably annoyed people in the vicinity.

If you have been charged with the crime of Public Intoxication, you should seek help from the Knoxville criminal defense attorneys at the Oberman & Rice Law Firm.

[Source: Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-310]

The Penalties

Under Tennessee law, Public Intoxication is a Class C Misdemeanor and may result in some or all of the following consequences:

  1. A sentence of up to 30 days in prison;
  2. A probationary period;
  3. A fine of up to $50;
  4. Court costs.

[Source: Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-310]

Other Consequences of a Public Intoxication Conviction

In addition to the court-mandated penalties described above, a person convicted of Public Intoxication may also experience serious collateral (other) consequences. A Public Intoxication conviction may result in the loss of college scholarships or the ability to seek admission to a higher learning institution. A conviction may also impact one’s ability to maintain or seek employment, and result in negative action to a professional license (e.g., nursing).

Except in rare circumstances a conviction for Public Intoxication will ALWAYS stay on a person’s public record (criminal history). This means that current and future employers may access records of Tennessee criminal convictions. For more information about Tennessee expungement law, you may wish to review the information contained on our sister website, http://www.eraseyourrecord.com/index.html.

Should I Hire A Lawyer?

Public Intoxication is a Misdemeanor Offense in Tennessee. However, it may result in jail time and, if convicted, the Public Intoxication charge will remain on your criminal history forever (except in rare circumstances). As a result, a potential employer may uncover a record of a conviction for this offense through a request for an applicant’s criminal history. An experienced Tennessee Criminal Defense Attorney provides the best opportunity to avoid a jail sentence or a conviction.

Why Hire a Lawyer Immediately?

It is important to act quickly in order to gather and preserve favorable evidence. Certain witnesses need to be interviewed as soon as possible. Key evidence (faces, dates, events, and conversations) fades from memory over time. Also, video recordings and other evidence may be destroyed. Therefore, it is critical to begin an investigation as soon as possible to ensure valuable evidence is not lost. Success or failure in any criminal case may be determined in the decisions of the defendant and his or her Tennessee Criminal Attorney in only a few hours or days after an arrest.

If you or someone you know has recently been arrested, contact the Oberman & Rice Law Firm today so that we can begin preparing a defense for your case. Submit your information for a free case evaluation from our Knoxville criminal defense attorneys or call our office at 865-249-7200.

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