You can still be arrested for public drunkenness in Pennsylvania, but the responding officer may give you a citation at the scene instead. The citation will require you to do one of two things: pay a fine or request a court hearing. If the officer believes you are a danger to yourself or others, or if they suspect you of another crime on top of public drunkenness, such as DUI, they might take you into custody.
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If you are facing a public drunkenness charge in Pennsylvania, understand that a conviction will go on your criminal record, and it will also show up on background checks conducted in the future by employers, landlords, or homeowners’ associations. A criminal defense lawyer from McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., can help you fight these charges. For a free consultation, call our office today at 610-680-7842.
What Is a Summary Offense
Public drunkenness is a summary offense, not a misdemeanor crime. A summary offense is the lowest type of criminal charge in Pennsylvania. Minor traffic violations fall under the heading of summary offenses, as do non-traffic crimes such as disorderly conduct, underage drinking, and criminal mischief.
Summary offenses are still crimes in Pennsylvania, and convictions do appear on your criminal record. But rather than involving jail time, they are typically punishable by a fine.
Related: Can You Be Charged without Evidence?
What Happens After I Receive a Citation for Public Drunkenness in Pennsylvania
After you receive a citation for a summary offense such as public drunkenness, you have 10 days to respond to it. Like with a traffic ticket, you can either pay a fine, which is effectively a guilty plea, or request a court date. If you ask for a court date, you will have the opportunity to hire a lawyer to help you prepare a defense.
But no matter what you do, it is imperative to respond to the citation within the 10-day window. If you do not, you may be arrested and brought to court.
Related: Do Misdemeanors Go Away in Pennsylvania?
Penalty for Public Drunkenness in Pennsylvania
If you receive a citation for public drunkenness in Pennsylvania, it will probably involve a fine of $500, assuming it is your first offense. For a second or subsequent public drunkenness violation, the fine doubles to $1,000.
Related: What Happens After A Preliminary Hearing?
If You Are Facing a Public Drunkenness Charge in Pennsylvania, Call 610-680-7842 for a Free Case Evaluation With McKenzie Law Firm, P.C.
McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., is a Pennsylvania criminal defense firm that can help you with your public drunkenness charge. Our team offers a free case evaluation and is eager to help with your case. Call us at 610-680-7842 for a free case evaluation.