What you might consider as having “one too many” and behaving badly out in public, could be considered public intoxication by local authorities. The state of Florida addresses public intoxication as when and if it results in disorderly behavior. If you’re intoxicated to the point where you “endanger the safety of another person or property” or “cause a public disturbance”, you will pay the price.
Some of the most common areas you will see the police arrest someone for public intoxication/disorderly conduct are at sporting events, “pub crawls” and after-work “happy hours”. Perhaps the biggest target for this type of arrest takes place on the beach during Spring Break. Alcohol on the beach and some fun in the sun sometimes ends up with a run-in with the law.
The penalty for this charge may not seem like a big deal. A public intoxication charge is only a second-degree misdemeanor under Florida law. Someone could face a sentence of up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $250, or a combination of jail time and a fine. While it might seem like a slap on the wrist, this charge can affect you if you are trying to get into a certain college, or want a specific career. And if this wasn’t just a one time incident, well then you can forget about FL’s lenient laws in this matter. Three convictions in 12 months can qualify you as an habitual offender. The judge can additionally sentence you to professional treatment at a rehabilitation facility for a period of up to 60 days, to go along with stiffer fines.
If you find yourself in this situation, don’t shrug it off. Avoid the possibility of a legal headache by hiring a defense attorney who can help you explain what happened leading up to your arrest.