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Disorderly Intoxication


West Palm Beach Disorderly Intoxication Attorney David W. Olson

The West Palm Beach and South Florida area is filled with countless restaurants, nightclubs, bars, sports arenas and public and private establishments where alcohol is sold and served. Unfortunately, good people sometimes find themselves in situations where they have consumed too much alcohol and as a result, get drunk and lose control of their common sense and good behavior.

Raucous, drunken behavior can lead to a charge of disorderly intoxication, a second degree misdemeanor that is potentially punishable by 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. If you were charged with disorderly intoxication, it is advisable to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will defend you and pursue a favorable resolution to these charges. Attorney David Olson offers a free case review.

Florida’s Disorderly Intoxication Statute

Florida’s disorderly intoxication laws fall under Chapter 856, Florida Statutes, Drunkenness; Open House Parties, Loitering; Prowling; Desertion. Sec. 856.011:

  • (1) No person in the state shall be intoxicated and endanger the safety of another person or property, and no person in the state shall be intoxicated or drink any alcoholic beverage in a public place or in or upon any public conveyance and cause a public disturbance.
  • (2) Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083 .
  • (3) Any person who shall have been convicted or have forfeited collateral under the provisions of subsection (1) three times in the preceding 12 months shall be deemed a habitual offender and may be committed by the court to an appropriate treatment resource for a period of not more than 60 days. Any peace officer, in lieu of incarcerating an intoxicated person for violation of subsection (1), may take or send the intoxicated person to her or his home or to a public or private health facility, and the law enforcement officer may take reasonable measures to ascertain the commercial transportation used for such purposes is paid for by such person in advance. Any law enforcement officers so acting shall be considered as carrying out their official duty.

Understanding the Disorderly Intoxication Statute

On its face, the statute is simple and straightforward. The statute prohibits:

  • Drunken conduct that endangers persons and property
  • Causing a public disturbance by being intoxicated in a public place

Florida defines “intoxication” under the Florida Standard Jury Instructions 29.1 in the following manner:

  • “Intoxication” means more than merely being under the influence of an alcoholic beverage. Intoxication means that the defendant must have been so affected from the drinking of an alcoholic beverage as to have lost or been deprived of the normal control of either his or her body or mental facilities, or both. Intoxication is synonymous with “drunk.”

What is a public place?

  • “A “public place” is a place where the public has a right to be and to go.”

Regarding the defendant’s admission:

  • “The defendant’s admission that he or she drank an alcoholic beverage is not sufficient by itself to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he or she was under the influence of an alcoholic beverage but this admission may be taken into consideration along with other evidence.”

A person’s drunken behavior is always subject to interpretation. Generally, those who have been charged with disorderly intoxication have often behaved in the following manner:

  • Excessively loud, rude, inappropriate, lacking control, unable to listen to others who are telling him or her to behave in an orderly manner, bothering and/or being rude or inappropriate to others, making a public spectacle of oneself, and so on.

Defending Against Disorderly Intoxication

Specifically, the Instructions state that to prove disorderly intoxication, the State must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

A. The defendant was intoxicated, and endangered the safety of another (or) personal property

B. The defendant was (1) intoxicated or drank any alcoholic beverage in a public place or public conveyance and (2) caused a public disturbance.

A Misdemeanor Can Harm One’s Future

Many people are under the impression that a misdemeanor charge of disorderly intoxication is not that serious. This simply is not so. In addition to a potential 60 day jail term and a $500 fine for a first conviction, if the accused is convicted three times in a period of 12 months, they may be required to attend treatment in a rehabilitation facility.

Additionally, a misdemeanor conviction can seriously harm one’s present and future professional career, not to mention one’s personal reputation.

  • As well, a conviction will result in a criminal record which becomes public and is available for anyone to see, including future employers, scholastic institutions, lending agencies, housing agencies and others .

Attorney David W. Olson, Disorderly Intoxication Criminal Defense

For more than 30 years, Attorney David Olson has represented thousands of clients charged with disorderly intoxication, disorderly conduct, DUI, reckless driving, drug charges, assault, violation of probation, sex offenses, domestic assault and battery, juvenile offenses and a myriad of other serious felonies and misdemeanors.

Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, he may possibly choose, for example, to argue that your behavior was not actually a danger to others, or that you did not behave in a drunk and disorderly manner, or that you were not actually in a public place. In many instances if the arrest was not conducted in accordance with proper procedure, the charge may not stand. There are numerous defenses that Attorney Olson may employ on your behalf. Discuss your case with Attorney Olson.

In many instances Attorney Olson is able to negotiate with the prosecution and have the charges dismissed, especially for first time offenders. Attorney Olson will pursue a resolution that is most favorable to the client. He understands how to help his clients and has a successful history of doing so.

Attorney Olson has been acknowledged by his peers in the legal community, as well as by his clients, for his ability and professionalism, including the following:

Attorney Olson represents clients in and around West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Delray Beach, Deerfield Beach, Jupiter, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Miami-Dade County and elsewhere throughout Florida. To schedule a free case review, call The Law Offices of David Olson at 561-833-8866.

Free case review

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