Virginia’s Disorderly Conduct and Public Intoxication Laws
Under Virginia Code § 18.2-415, a person is guilty of disorderly conduct if, in a public place, they act in a manner which might upset others to the point of provoking a violent reaction. In other words, if a person fights another person, or challenges them to a fight in a public place, that could be considered “disorderly conduct.”
Similarly, if a person is drunk and making loud noises or is using offensive words in public place, a funeral, or a school, this too could be disorderly conduct. However, if being drunk, loud, or using foul language does not occur at a funeral or school, then the Commonwealth must prove that the defendant’s conduct or words were reasonably likely to provoke an immediate and violent reaction.
If you are charged under Virginia Code § 18.2-415, there is a good chance that you may also be charged under Virginia Code § 18.2-388 for public intoxication / drunk in public in Virginia. If you are drunk in public and cursing or swearing, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. Virginia law defines being drunk or intoxicated as being under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the point where it observably affects the person’s speech, movement, and general appearance.
Disorderly conduct is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, you face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Public intoxication is a Class 4 misdemeanor which is only a $500 fine.
How a Fairfax Public Intoxication Attorney Can Help
Regardless of whether you have been charged with disorderly conduct, public intoxication / drunk in public, or both, there are a number of promising defenses to these charges. With regard to being drunk in public, the Commonwealth must prove that your actions were the result of intoxication. A good criminal defense attorney will be able to submit evidence which contradicts the Commonwealth’s argument that your actions were the product of being intoxicated or drunk. This can be accomplished several ways, but again, it will all depend on the unique facts of each case. Moreover, some police officers are ignorant about what constitutes a “public place.” This means you can be wrongfully charged for public intoxication if you were to get drunk and fight someone on your porch or in your front yard – both of which are on private property.
With disorderly conduct, there are several avenues by which a good Fairfax criminal defense attorney can assert a strong defense. For example, your attorney may be able to prove that your behavior was protected under the First Amendment (especially whether your words had a “tendency to cause” a violent reaction) or that you were simply falsely accused. If you have been charged with public intoxication or disorderly conduct, the prosecutor may agree to drop the charge. But whether this happens is entirely dependent upon the skill of your attorney and the facts of your case.
Contact a Fairfax Drunk in Public Lawyer Today
If you have been charged with disorderly conduct or public intoxication in Fairfax County, contact the Law Offices of Randall Sousa now for a Free Consultation with a criminal defense attorney in Fairfax VA. 571-354-6164
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By: Randall Sousa
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The Law Offices of Randall Sousa provides clients throughout Virginia with affordable, professional, and aggressive criminal defense legal services. If you have been arrested, charged with a crime, or are under investigation, call us now for a Free Consultation.
Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Randall Sousa possesses a deep commitment and passion for criminal defense, and he is relentless when it comes to fighting for his clients in each and every case.
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Fairfax, VA 22031