Public Intoxication Fines & Penalties

The rules surrounding public intoxication in Illinois are somewhat complex. According to Illinois law, being intoxicated in public is not a crime. However, charges can be brought for a number of behaviors that might result from your intoxication, such as disorderly conduct and assault. The penalties for these crimes can be severe, with consequences including heavy fines and months of incarceration. If you have been accused of a crime while under the influence of alcohol, you should seek the assistance of a Chicago criminal defense lawyer.

Being charged with a crime is always a frightening experience. In addition to criminal penalties, you may be worried about what a conviction could mean for your career. If you are imprisoned a number of weeks, you may lose your job. You might also be worried about how your family will survive, especially if you are the sole earner in your household. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your case, Chicago alcohol crimes attorney Michael O’Meara Law can help preserve your freedom and dignity. Having worked as both a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney during his two-decade-long legal career, he can help you craft a winning legal strategy.

To find out more about how we can defend your case, call 312-909-0706 now.

When Is It Illegal to be Drunk in Public in Illinois?

In Illinois, it is not illegal to be intoxicated in public. In fact, there is a state law that prohibits local governments from making public intoxication an offense. Illinois treats intoxication as a medical or social issue and encourages people to seek treatment instead of receiving punishment.

However, you can be charged with a crime if you are drunk in public and do something disruptive, violent, or dangerous. Some examples of criminal charges that may be associated with public intoxication include:

  • Disorderly conduct – This crime involves acting in an unreasonable manner as to alarm or disturb others and to provoke a breach of the peace. This may be a misdemeanor or felony with fines that range up to $10,000, incarceration, and community service.
  • Assault – A serious crime, assault may be a misdemeanor that results in up to $1,500 in fines, up to 30 days in jail, and community service. Aggravated assault is a felony that may involve a weapon or take place against certain categories of penalties with even steeper penalties.
  • Drunk driving – A first-time DUI may result in a fine of $1,000, up to six months in jail, and a one-year driver’s license suspension.
  • Open Container in a Motor Vehicle – This involves driving with an open bottle of alcohol in a car and is a petty crime that will not result in jail time, but you may lose your license for a period of time.
  • Public indecency – If you expose yourself in a lewd manner in public may result in up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,5000.
  • Underage drinking – Both possession and consumption of alcohol are prohibited for anyone under the age of 21. If convicted, you may face jail time, loss of a driver’s license, and community service.

For any criminal conviction, there are collateral consequences that can follow you for life. Once you get out of jail/prison, finding a job might be difficult since employers can legally discriminate against people based on their criminal history. You might also have trouble continuing your education once you have served your time. Many colleges and universities will hesitate before accepting an application from someone with a criminal history. Finally, if you are an immigrant you may face deportation because of even a minor criminal offense.

How O’Meara Law Can Help

If you have been accused of a crime, you are certainly concerned about the consequences of a conviction. The prospect of going through the criminal justice system can be daunting, and prosecutors will leverage this fear. They will try to convince you that pleading guilty and moving on with your life is your best option. An experienced Chicago criminal defense lawyer may be able to get you a better plea arrangement. And in some cases, it may be possible to obtain the dismissal of your charges or to achieve a victory at trial.

Whether you have been arrested for disorderly conduct or having an open container, a Chicago alcohol crimes attorney from O’Meara Law can help you defend your rights in court. We have helped hundreds of people get their charges dismissed or reduced. Our priority is to guide you through every step of the criminal justice process, to protect your rights, and to ensure that you understand your legal options.

To see how we can help in your specific case, call 312-909-0706 for a free and confidential consultation.