Imagine it, the Phillies are back in World Series and you're out celebrating with friends, when a dude in a Mets hat yells "come at me, bro!" Besides the guy being a total waste of space, he is likely on the verge of a ticket for being drunk in public.
On the other hand, what if it's you telling someone to "come at you" when you're on the streets of Philadelphia? What if you don't realize that the person you're yelling at is actually a police officer?
Well then, you better know what to do with that citation the nice officer hands you.
Don't let the name fool you though, this offence it isn't limited to alcoholic intoxication, but to intoxication on any substance that makes you a danger to yourself or others. Well, you probably don't think it's much of a big deal because public drunkenness is a summary offense, but still, there are many, many reasons to avoid this situation.
Since public drunkenness is a summary offense, this means that you will usually only receive a citation from an officer, unless of course you want to escalate the situation to one where you start a fight with the officer or some other brilliant move that would make an officer arrest you on misdemeanor or even felony charges depending on what goes down.
Do know that even summary offenses can result in up to a $300 fine and a maximum of 90 days in jail. Not fun.
If you are unlucky enough to get a citation for public drunkenness, you can pay your ticket online. Otherwise, your case will be handled by the Philadelphia Municipal Court, now that the Community Court has been shut down. If you don't plead guilty and pay your fine, that is where you can show up for a hearing to plead your innocence.
All in all, it is easy enough to avoid a citation for being drunk in public as long as you are not threatening people, making a public nuisance of yourself or looking like you will fall down and break your own skull.
This post is part of FindLaw's Legal U series. We are working to help you learn what to do in your city to cope with some of the legal problems, questions, or issues that come up in daily life. Please come back to learn more from future posts in this series.
- Call a Criminal Lawyer in Philadelphia (FindLaw)
- An Open Container of What, Officer? What to do Next in Philly (Philadelphia DUI Blog)
- What is Public Intoxication? (FindLaw Blotter)