The Commonwealth of Virginia has a specific law on public intoxication, as does Fairfax County. If you are in violation of the language of either law, you can be arrested and charged with being drunk in public.
Drunk in Public: What Fairfax Law Says
Section 18.2-388 of the Virginia Code states that it is illegal to curse or swear “profanely” or to be intoxicated in public, either as a result of alcohol or drug intake. If there is a court-approved detoxification center near where you are apprehended by a police officer, s/he may transport you there rather than arrest you. This gives a fairly harmless drunken person the option of calming down and “drying out” rather than being charged with a crime.
No suspect has to remain at such a center, though, and some go back into a public area and are subsequently arrested. The law defines an area as “public” if it is “in open view, visible to the community” and can even include the defendant’s private property. Those found guilty of this offense face a fine of not more than $250, under state law.
Section 5-1-1 of Fairfax County law prohibits any person from being “drunk in public” or “profanely cursing or swearing.” The fine is $250 under county law as well, but if the same person is convicted of the offense three times within one year, the fine doubles to $500.
What an Attorney Can Do For You
A good Fairfax criminal defense attorney can dig into the details of your case and challenge the charges. Perhaps people around you misheard what you said, or maybe much of what you said was in jest and not as profane as reported. It could be that you were in a place that was not “public” after all. A competent Fairfax criminal lawyer will interview witnesses, check to make sure that all normal, legal procedures were followed by the arresting officer, and build a strong case to have your charges reduced or dismissed.
Michael A. Robinson, Attorney at Law
Michael A. Robinson, Esq. has years of experience in Fairfax County and has defended clients against public intoxication charges. He has a thorough knowledge of the law and of procedure, and understands how to make sure that the rights of anyone charged with this crime are protected.
One aspect of Attorney Michael A. Robinson’s legal career that other lawyers cannot match is his years spent as a prosecutor in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Because he used to serve as a prosecutor, he can anticipate the tactics and arguments of the prosecution in your case. That gives him an advantage that many other lawyers do not have.
Contact Attorney Michael A. Robinson immediately if you have been charged with public intoxication. He will give you a free consultation and offer you honest advice about your possible case and chances of success.