Articles Posted in Drunk In Public

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You may reason that, since your children have drunk alcohol with friends, they would be a lot safer if they did their drinking at home. But cities have created social host ordinances prohibiting adults from providing alcohol to minors, even in their own home.

Minors Consume AlcoholJeff Lake, father of 18-year-old Olivia Lake, was arrested recently for throwing a Playboy-themed party in Poway, Calif. to celebrate Olivia’s 18th birthday. There were reportedly “up to 200 teens” in attendance when the police arrived at the party. Many of the teens were allegedly drinking and, in keeping with the Playboy Mansion theme, scantily clad.1

Lake was charged with violating a Poway social host ordinance. If he is convicted, he could face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.2

Many California municipalities have enacted social host ordinances to discourage underage drinking. Studies have found that although law enforcement has cracked down on liquor sales to minors, many underage drinkers obtain liquor at home or at a friend’s house.

California Social Host Ordinances

Social host ordinances in California generally hold the adult in charge of the premises responsible if underage persons are allowed to drink on the premises and the adult:

  • Knows or should have known the drinking is taking place, and
  • Fails to take reasonable action to stop it

Social host ordinances do not generally allow the police to enter your property without a search warrant. However, if police discover that underage drinking is taking place on your property, they can give you a citation or arrest you.

Penalties vary based on each city’s ordinance. If you are cited for a first offense infraction in Laguna Beach, you will have to attend a parent education class. In Poway, where Jeff Lake was arrested, you could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

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After being charged with a crime, you are often faced with making the decision between asking for a public defender to represent you or hiring a private attorney for your case. Although the cheaper option of a public defender may sound appealing at first, it is crucial that the attorney you hire is responsible, reliable and has the time to make your case a top priority.

We recently read a story about a Los Angeles Public Defender that caught our attention.

L.A. County Public Defender Arrested for being Drunk in Public

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According to the OC Register, more than 100,000 visitors packed into Newport Beach, California to celebrate the Fourth of July in 2012. Newport Beach has approximately 85,000 permanent residents.

If you plan to celebrate this year’s festivities in Newport Beach, remember to party responsibly. The Newport Beach Police Department’s crime statistics indicate that the following five crimes typically experience a significant rise during the month of July:

1. Public Intoxication (California Penal Code section 647(f))


In July 2012, there were a reported 145 public intoxication arrests in Newport Beach. It is interesting to note that this was the only month to see a triple-figure amount for this offense. In fact, no other month saw more than 81 reported public intoxication offenses.

To convict you of public intoxication in Newport Beach, the prosecutor will need to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You were willfully under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or a controlled substance;
  • You were in a public place while under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or a controlled substance; AND
  • You were unable to exercise care for your safety or the safety of others; OR
  • You interfered with, obstructed, or prevented the free use of a street, sidewalk, or other public way because you were under the influence.

One of our skilled attorneys recently got a public intoxication charge against our client completely dismissed. Our client was facing up to 90 days in county jail and 1-year suspension of his driver’s license if convicted. Due to the attorney’s tremendous efforts, the district attorney agreed to drop the charge after agreeing that the charge could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. Click here to continue reading.

2. Petty Theft (California Penal Code section 488)


In July 2012, there were a reported 116 petty thefts in Newport Beach. This accounted for 16% of the city’s petty thefts in 2012.

To convict you of petty theft under PC 488, the prosecutor will need to prove the following elements:

  • You took possession of property owned by someone else;
  • You took possession of the property without the owner’s permission;
  • When you took the property, you intended to deprive the owner of it permanently or remove it from the owner’s possession for an extended period of time such that the owner would be deprived of a major portion of the value or enjoyment of the property.

The prosecutor also carries the significant evidentiary burden of proving three additional facts in order to convict you of petty theft:

  • The stolen property had a market value of $950 or less;
  • The property was not taken directly from the owner (e.g. pickpocketing); AND
  • The property is not of a special type, such as an automobile, firearm, or farm animal.

Recently, an experienced Wallin & Klarich defense attorney helped one of our clients avoid time in a juvenile detention facility after she was accused of petty theft under PC 488. If convicted, our client faced up to 6 months in juvenile detention. The attorney used his extensive legal knowledge to raise a successful objection to the arresting officer’s testimony against our client. Read the full story here.

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California Penal Code Section 647(f), commonly known as public intoxication, is a misdemeanor that can lead to jail time. Therefore, you need to contact an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney if you are being accused of public intoxication.

Orange%20County%20Public%20Intoxication%20Criminal%20Defense%20Attorneys%20888-280-6839.jpg Prosecution for Public Intoxication

In order to convict you for public intoxication under PC 647(f), the prosecution must prove that:

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It is not a crime for you to be drunk in a public place. According to California Penal Code section 647(f), you can only be found guilty of being drunk in public if:

(1) You are in any public place under the influence of any intoxicating liquor, drug, or controlled substance; and (2) You are unable to exercise care for your own safety or the safety of others; or (3) You interfere with, obstruct, or prevent the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way.

Drunk%20in%20Public%20Criminal%20Defense%20Attorneys%20888-280-6839.jpg Simply put, in order for you to be found guilty of being drunk in public under California Penal Code section 647(f), you must be so drunk that you are a nuisance or hazard to others.

About Wallin & Klarich


Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.