Drunk in Public

Public Intoxication in Virginia

The Virginia code states:

Va. Code 18.2-388. Profane swearing and intoxication in public; penalty; transportation of public inebriates to detoxification center.

If any person profanely curses or swears or is intoxicated in public, whether such intoxication results from alcohol, narcotic drug or other intoxicant or drug of whatever nature, he shall be deemed guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. In any area in which there is located a court-approved detoxification center a law-enforcement officer may authorize the transportation, by police or otherwise, of public inebriates to such detoxification center in lieu of arrest; however, no person shall be involuntarily detained in such center.

These charges are commonly referred to as "Drunk in Public" or "DIP." While the charge does not carry the possibility of a high jail sentence, a conviction for Drunk in Public can have other negative consequences.  Many of our clients have never been charged with a crime before, and want to avoid creating a criminal record. They are concerned about future employment prospects and often either have or someday plan to obtain a security clearance for work.

Do you need a lawyer?

Handling your Drunk in Public case alone will likely not result in a high fine or jail sentence. However, there is a high risk of getting a criminal conviction. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you prepare fully for your court date in two ways. First, your lawyer should explore every possible defense and prepare to fight your case at trial. Second, your lawyer should work equally hard preparing extensive mitigation to present to the prosecutor before court. Our attorneys often negotiate outcomes to Drunk in Public cases that meet all of our client's goals without the risk of having a trial.

Our experienced attorneys offer free consultations either in our office or by phone regarding Public Intoxication cases. Call us today at 703-822-4701.

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