What Happens When You Are Charged with Public Intoxication?

By Jeff Kennedy

The responsible consumption of alcohol is a standard feature of all kinds of social events. When things get crazy, however, people run the risk of endangering themselves or others. Read on to find out what happens when you are charged with public intoxication. 

Understanding Public Intoxication in Texas

In the state of Texas, merely imbibing alcohol in public does not make one a criminal. Going to celebrate over a few cold ones with your friends or family is not something that will get you in trouble, per se. Public intoxication is a crime, however, that can be brought when you are drunk in public and could possibly pose a threat to yourself or others. 

In order to be charged with public intoxication, an arresting officer must first have probable cause to detain you. They may rely on visible signs of intoxication to make an arrest. 

If you are arrested, an officer will likely take you to a local police department for processing. From there, depending on the charges at play and your level of intoxication, you may be allowed to leave once you are no longer deemed a threat. 

Later, you may have to make a court appearance, where you will be read your charges. In Texas, public intoxication is a misdemeanor offense punishable by no more than a $500 fine. Although the legal punishment for a public intoxication charge is relatively minor, you could also be faced with other consequences, such as social or professional troubles.

Common Defences to Public Intoxication Charges

When you’ve been charged with public intoxication in Texas, a lawyer can help you come up with some possible defenses against the allegations, with the ultimate goal of having the charges dropped. Some common defenses used for public intoxication cases in Texas include: 

  • The Defendant Wasn’t Actually Intoxicated — One of the strongest defenses to a charge of public intoxication is insisting that you were not, in fact, intoxicated in excess of the legal limit. This defense is effective when the arresting officer fails to make mention of visible signs of intoxication. 
  • The Defendant Wasn’t Endangering Others — Sometimes, absent concrete evidence—such as a person urinating outside or tossing an empty bottle in the street—the argument that they were endangering others isn’t so strong, leading to a dropped charge. 

Reach Out to a Public Intoxication Lawyer Now

Although public intoxication may seem like a minor charge, being found guilty can be punished by a fine and some unpleasant consequences at work or in your social life. Repeat offenses may be even more serious. 

That’s why many people facing a public intoxication charge elect to consult an experienced attorney. The legal team at The Law Offices of Jeff C. Kennedy is passionate about defending the rights of the accused and wants to help you clear your name. 

Ready to contact a public intoxication lawyer in Fort Worth? Call 817-605-1010 or fill out the following form to contact a lawyer at The Law Offices of Jeff C. Kennedy now. Our case consultations are free and come with no obligations. 


Jeff C. Kennedy was the light of hope at the end of very dark storm. He was not only able to defend my case swiftly, but had the alleged charges dismissed completely. His calm and empathetic demeanor offered emotional succor to myself and those I care about most. My children and I are eternally grateful for his excellent service and I hereby recommend Jeff C. Kennedy without reservation.


Jeff Kennedy truly cares. He and his staff kept me informed all the way throughout my case and provided me with all my options and the potential outcomes for my case. When the day finally arrived to resolve my case, Jeff was able to negotiate a reduction to a lesser charge. He was well prepared and coordinated everything perfectly. Jeff is not only a good lawyer, but a good man.


I hired Mr. Jeff Kennedy to handle a DWI charge. From day one, I knew I had picked the right attorney. Jeff always took the time to answer any of my questions, treated me very professionally, and truly cared about my case. I have never been in any kind of trouble before and I was very nervous about the thought of going to trial. Jeff thoroughly explained the entire process to me and made me feel at ease. Jeff took my case to trial and the jury found me NOT GUILTY!


Jeff Kennedy is a professional, intelligent, easy-to-talk-to lawyer with an excellent understanding of how the system works. Jeff was able to get my twice the legal limit BAC thrown out and he kept me from having an interlock device put on my car. This has been my only big mistake in life so far (hopefully the last) and I am glad he was there to walk me through it. You will not regret hiring him.

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