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La Plata & Waldorf Criminal Defense Lawyer
The Charles County Criminal Defense Firm Hablamos Español 301-259-3488

Everything You Need to Know About Public Intoxication in Maryland


Laws related to public intoxication vary from state to state. This makes it important to understand the laws specific to your location. Before we delve deeper into Maryland’s specific laws regarding public intoxication, let’s discuss what constitutes public intoxication.

What is Public Intoxication?

Maryland considers drinking alcoholic beverages or getting intoxicated in a public location and putting the lives of others in danger or causing a public disturbance as public intoxication. A public location may include places such as streets, sidewalks, parks, and stadiums. In some states, restaurants and bars may be considered public locations because they are open to the public. In addition, in certain states if a person doesn’t have permission to be on private property and be intoxicated, this may also be charged as public intoxication. This crime may also lead to trespassing and disturbing the peace.

Laws Related to Public Intoxication

In the state of Maryland, drinking in public is a crime and can result in a penalty of up to $100, up to 90 days in jail, or a combination of both. However, the law allows the charged intoxicated individual, whose health is in danger, to be taken to a detoxification center or an appropriate health care facility prior to the arrest. Other charges that often coincide with public intoxication include the following:

  • Open container in public – Maryland considers having an open container of alcohol near a shopping center or retail establishment a criminal offense, until and unless it is authorized by the owner. This offense is punishable by a fine of up to $100.
  • Open container in a vehicle – If you have an open alcohol container in a vehicle in Maryland, you can be fined up to $25. The law punishes the people for owning alcohol while ensuring that innocent drivers are not charged for an open container that is owned by the passenger.

Defenses to Public Intoxication Charges

If you are charged with public intoxication in Maryland, you can make use of several potential defenses. Most of the defenses focus on illustrating that there is no enough evidence to support the charges. Some of the possible defenses include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Not a public charge – A defendant may argue that they were involuntarily in a public place at the time when the arrest happened. They may also argue that the arrest was not made in a public place.
  • Not intoxicated – Another possible defense could be arguing that they were not intoxicated at the time when the arrest was made. However, this is quite difficult to prove as the court will often rely on the testimony provided by the arresting officer. It is necessary that the defendant provide concrete proof demonstrating that they were not intoxicated at the time of arrest, such as having a blood alcohol test.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are facing charges of public intoxication in Maryland, it is imperative that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. The La Plata & Waldorf criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Hammad S. Matin, P.A. will work to create the best possible defense strategy for your situation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.




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