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Pleading Guilty to a Public Intoxication Charge in Texas

For someone who has been arrested for public intoxication in Texas, it may seem tempting to just plead “guilty,” pay a fine and move on with life. After all, having to spend the night in jail is something you want to forget, right? However, many people do not realize that taking this course of action will result in a conviction and a permanent criminal record. If you have been arrested for public intoxication in Texas, don’t make the mistake of pleading guilty.

Penalties for Public Intoxication in Texas

In Texas, public intoxication is usually classified as a  “Class C Misdemeanor” which is punishable by up to a $500 fine. However, this assumes that the defendant is over 21 years of age and that this new public intoxication arrest has not been enhanced. Although public intoxication does not carry jail time, it can create problems for future opportunities. Unfortunately, not all Class C Misdemeanors are created equal, at least in the eyes of potential employers or graduate schools. Most people would not want to have to explain or disclose the circumstances of an arrest for public intoxication.

It is also important to note that even if you have already plead guilty, paid a fine, etc. and been convicted for a public intoxication charge, it may be possible to withdraw the plea and get another chance at fighting the charge. However, these circumstances are very narrow and time sensitive. An attorney experienced in Texas public intoxication law will have a good understanding of your options in a PI case.

Public Intoxication Law in Texas

TEXAS PENAL CODE §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.

(b) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the alcohol or other substance was administered for therapeutic purposes and as a part of the person’s professional medical treatment by a licensed physician.

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

(d) An offense under this section is not a lesser included offense under Section 49.04.

(e) An offense under this section committed by a person younger than 21 years of age is punishable in the same manner as if the minor committed an offense to which Section 106.071, Alcoholic Beverage Code, applies.

 Austin Public Intoxication Lawyer

If you have been arrested in Austin for public intoxication, contact Austin public intoxication lawyer Kevin Bennett. Kevin Bennett is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Austin who defends those accused of public intoxication and other felony and misdemeanor crimes in Travis County. He can help you with all aspects of your case, including expunction.

If you are confused or unsure how to proceed, please call Attorney Kevin Bennett at (512) 476-4626. You may also contact us through email.

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