Are There Penalties for Public Intoxication in Texas?

It is not illegal to go out in public after having a couple of drinks in the state of Texas. However, if your drinking leads you to disturb the public or to pose as a threat to others or yourself, then this is a violation of Texas law. Continue reading to learn the penalties you may be facing for public intoxication and how an experienced Hidalgo County, Texas criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Angel Davila can come to your defense.

What are the penalties for public intoxication in the state of Texas?

Texas law is notably harsh when it comes to penalties for public intoxication. That is, this offense is considered a Class C misdemeanor, which includes a fine of up to $500. Additionally, if you are under the legal drinking age and charged for public intoxication, this is still considered a Class C misdemeanor. However, there is a Zero Tolerance Law in effect that makes the penalties even more severe for underage drinkers. They read as follows:

  • Driver’s license suspension for up to 30 days.
  • Fines of up to $500.
  • Community service anywhere between eight to 12 hours.
  • Alcohol awareness classes.

That said, instead of bringing you to jail, a law enforcement officer has the authority to follow any of these procedures:

  • The law enforcement officer may release you to a licensed treatment facility for chemical dependency, but only if you consent.
  • The law enforcement officer may take you to a hospital for emergency treatment if you are incapacitated, with no consent required.
  • The law enforcement officer may release you if they believe that it is no longer necessary to protect you.

What if I commit a DWI offense after public intoxication?

What’s worse is if you get behind the wheel after being publicly intoxicated. Receiving a DWI offense means that you will be facing possible jail time, hefty fines, long-term license suspension, and more. Specifically, the consequences read as follows:

  • First-offense DWI:
    • Jail for up to 180 days.
    • A $2,000 fine.
    • License suspension for up to one year.
    • DWI education or alcohol treatment program.
    • An ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle.
  • Second-offense DWI:
    • Jail for up to one year.
    • A $4,000 fine.
    • License suspension for up to two years.
    • DWI education or alcohol treatment program.
    • An IID in your vehicle.
  • Third-offense DWI:
    • Jail for up to 10 years.
    • A $10,000 fine.
    • License suspension for up to two years.
    • DWI education or alcohol treatment program.
    • An IID in your vehicle.

Nonetheless, these charges should not be taken lightly. We suggest that you reach out to a skilled McAllen, Texas DWI lawyer at your earliest convenience. We will work on a defense strategy to reduce or altogether eliminate the penalties placed against you. Give us a call today.

Contact Our Hidalgo County, Texas Firm

For quality legal defense for criminal convictions, family law matters, and estate planning matters, contact the Law Office of Angel Davila today.