It may seem obvious that a person cannot be charged with public intoxication while inside their own homes, but what about outside? What can happen if you are intoxicated on your own outdoor property, such as a front porch? You might be facing a criminal misdemeanor and it is important that you contact a misdemeanor lawyer Fairfax VA right away!
A misdemeanor lawyer Fairfax VA knows that in Virginia a “public” place is defined as, “any place, building, or conveyance to which the public has, or is permitted to have, access.” See Virginia Code § 4.1-100. However, the courts have expanded the functional definition of “public” to refer to any outdoor place that is visible to others, even if it is on your own private property. This means that you can be charged with public intoxication for simply standing on the front steps of your own home while under the influence of alcohol. While there have been court rulings in other states related to excessive alcohol consumption on one’s own front steps or porch, Virginia courts have not so limited the scope of what constitutes “public” space. A misdemeanor lawyer Fairfax VA has seen these kinds of circumstances and will know how to advise you if you find yourself in this kind of situation.
Sometimes what constitutes “private property” in a public intoxication case can be confusing. As such, you should always contact a misdemeanor lawyer Fairfax VA if you find yourself charged with public intoxication in Virginia.
Knowing that you can be arrested for public intoxication in Virginia while on your own property, it is important to consider steps you can take to avoid an unnecessary misdemeanor charge. First and foremost, do not become intoxicated! Then you do not have to worry if you are in a public or private space. However, sometimes circumstances are such that a person will consume one too many drinks and having a misdemeanor lawyer Fairfax VA on your side is important when this occurs. The situation is not uncommon: a citizen is throwing a party at a private residence that involves alcohol consumption. Perhaps the music is loud, or the guests are a bit rowdy, and a neighbor calls the police. When law enforcement arrives, they may ask you to step outside so they can talk to you. However, keep in mind that if you are drunk, stepping outside is all an officer will need to arrest and charge you with public intoxication. You could end up being charged simply for complying with an officer’s request. If this happens to you, call a misdemeanor lawyer Fairfax VA to protect your rights and help you explore potential options moving forward.
Virginia law defines “intoxication” as having consumed enough alcohol that it changes your “manner, disposition, speech, muscular movement, general appearance or behavior.” See Virginia Code § 4.1-100. While many point to the .08 blood alcohol content standard that is commonly known, the police do not have to give you a breath or blood test to charge you with public intoxication. Instead, they can charge you based on their observations of your behavior. A good misdemeanor lawyer Fairfax VA understands what burden a prosecutor will have to meet to prove you were intoxicated and use that knowledge to help defend your case.
Public intoxication is a Class 4 misdemeanor that can come with an up-to $250 fine. A misdemeanor lawyer Fairfax VA knows that there is no jail time associated with a Class 4 misdemeanor. To be sure, the police may handcuff you and take you to a holding area, or a specified detox center, for a few hours while you sober up. But there is generally no risk of jail time as part of a criminal sentence. Because of this, many people may think it is unnecessary to hire an attorney if facing a drunk in public charge. This is not accurate and if you are charged with public intoxication you should hire a misdemeanor lawyer Fairfax VA right away. For example, although the punishment may not be very severe relative to other charges, it is still a criminal offense that will be put on your permanent record. This can impact job prospects, school admission, security clearances, and other aspect of your future. This is why we always recommend calling a misdemeanor lawyer Fairfax VA, no matter how small the charge may seem.
If you are charged with public intoxication or any other criminal misdemeanor, contact May Law, LLP and speak to a misdemeanor lawyer Fairfax VA right away!
How Are DUIs Handled When the Driver is Underage?
Everybody makes mistakes. The key to mitigating potential consequences associated with mistakes usually involves addressing the fallout promptly and to the best of one’s ability. For example, say that your underage son or daughter has recently been charged with drinking and driving. It can be tempting to ignore that your son or daughter possibly had a serious lapse in judgment. It can also be tempting to ignore the charges, especially if they seem to be trumped up or motivated by unacceptable biases. However, it is important to address this reality head-on. Failure to act quickly can limit your family’s legal options and weaken an experienced Fairfax, Virginia misdemeanor lawyer’s capacity to mount a strong defense.
If your underage son or daughter has recently been charged with drinking and driving (or drugged driving or otherwise driving while impaired/under the influence) please contact May Law, LLP now. The sooner you act, the sooner a Fairfax, VA misdemeanor lawyer can begin working on a strong, informed legal strategy, regardless of the specific circumstances surrounding the alleged offense.
Underage DUIs – The Basics
Unless special circumstances apply, most adult motorists are only cited with a DUI or DWI infraction if their blood alcohol level tops 0.08 percent. However, underage motorists are not allowed to have any alcohol in their blood. In general, an underage motorist may be charged with a DUI or DWI infraction if their blood tests positive for the presence of alcohol at any detectable level whatsoever.
Once an underage motorist is charged with a DUI, he or she faces steep penalties. For example, Virginia generally treats an underage DUI or DWI as a Class One misdemeanor. Related penalties may include (but are not limited to): fines, community service, driver safety class attendance, alcohol and/or drug rehabilitation attendance, license suspension, ignition interlock installation, probation and/or incarceration. It is also possible that these charges will impact your child’s schooling and/or employment. If your child has a child of his/her own, these charges could impact child custody and/or parenting time arrangements. These are only some of the many reasons why an underage DUI or DWI charge must be treated seriously and urgently. Failing to adequately respond to legitimate or illegitimate charges could impact your child for life. As a result, it is imperative that if your child has been charged with an underage DUI or DWI, you need to contact an experienced Fairfax, VA misdemeanor lawyer now.
Legal Guidance Is Available
If your underage son or daughter has been charged with a DUI or a DWI, the charges may be legitimate or illegitimate. Regardless, there are strong defensive tactics that an experienced Fairfax, VA misdemeanor lawyer may be able to use in order to either get the charges dismissed or to mitigate any potential consequences your son or daughter may be facing in the wake of these accusations. An underage DUI or DWI conviction is serious business and should not be treated lightly. If your child is convicted and this infraction remains on his or her record, the consequences for his or her employment, schooling, housing and community life could last forever. Please contact an experienced member of our legal team today, so that we can begin working to protect your child’s rights. We look forward to speaking with you.