There are few things more American than enjoying an ice cold beer after a long day of work. However, in Oklahoma you need to be careful where you choose to crack open that cold one. Oklahoma has some of the strictest liquor laws in the country and Oklahoma public intoxication laws are no exception.
By state law it is illegal to consume alcohol in any public place that is not licensed to sell and serve alcohol. The scope of this law is very broad because the term public place can apply to a long list of locations.
There are three main ways to get arrested for public intoxication in Oklahoma.
- Drinking in a vehicle or a public place
- Being drunk on any road, in a public place, or at a public gathering
- Being drunk and disturbing the peace
These three ways leave a lot of room for Oklahomans to get arrested for public intoxication. You can get arrested if you are drunk while riding in the passenger seat of a car or if you’re just being annoying at a bar. Unlike DUI offenses, law enforcement won’t have you submit to a breathalyzer or standard field sobriety tests to determine whether you are intoxicated. Instead, they will rely on their observations alone. If you are exhibiting signs of intoxication, i.e. an odor of an alcoholic beverage or red, watery eyes, that can be enough to get you arrested and even convicted.
Exceptions to Public Intoxication
As with every rule, there are a few exceptions to this rule. During certain events, a city’s ordinance might allow drinking in public places. This is common for game-day tailgating at college football games. Not all cities make this exception, so it’s best to check before you start drinking.
Police can take intoxicated people into protective custody by taking them to their home or to a treatment facility. Protective custody can only be enforced if the person gives their consent to the officer.
When a person is taken into protective custody they are not under arrest. However, since public intoxication in Oklahoma is a crime, the officer can still arrest the person if there is not a treatment facility available or if the person refuses to go to the treatment facility.
The only time an officer does not need consent is if the person is unconscious or if they appear to be a danger to himself or to the public.
Punishments for Public Intoxication
If you are arrested for public intoxication in Oklahoma you can face 5-30 days in jail as well as a $100-$1,000 fine. Jacqui Ford has the experience needed to protect her client’s futures.
If you have been charged with public intoxication you need to contact an Oklahoma City public intoxication lawyer as soon as possible.