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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Houston Public Intoxication Lawyer - what are the most common places to get arrested for Public Intoxication in Houston? Can you get it off your record?

Houston Public Intoxication Lawyer - what are the most common places to get arrested for Public Intoxication in Houston? Can you get it off your record?


In Houston, Texas, the most common places where people get arrested for public intoxication typically include areas with high concentrations of bars, clubs, and entertainment venues. These areas often have a higher police presence and stricter enforcement of public intoxication laws.


Some of the most notable locations include:


  1. Downtown Houston: This area is home to many bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues, particularly around Main Street, Market Square, and Discovery Green. The high foot traffic and nightlife activity make it a common area for public intoxication arrests.

  2. Midtown: Known for its vibrant nightlife and numerous bars and clubs, Midtown is a hotspot for evening and late-night activity, leading to frequent public intoxication incidents.

  3. Washington Avenue Corridor: This area has a high concentration of bars, clubs, and restaurants, attracting many people, especially on weekends. The nightlife scene here often results in public intoxication arrests.

  4. Montrose: A diverse and eclectic neighborhood with many bars, restaurants, and clubs, Montrose is another common area where public intoxication arrests occur.

  5. Rice Village: Near Rice University, this area has many bars, restaurants, and shops, making it a popular spot for students and locals. Public intoxication arrests can be common, especially around busy nights and events.

  6. The Heights: With its growing number of bars and restaurants, The Heights is becoming an increasingly popular nightlife destination, leading to more public intoxication arrests.

  7. EaDo (East Downtown): This area is known for its sports venues, bars, and clubs. The presence of venues like the BBVA Compass Stadium also contributes to the area's activity and potential for public intoxication incidents.


Law enforcement typically focuses on these areas due to the higher likelihood of encountering individuals who are publicly intoxicated, ensuring safety and order in these busy districts.


Defending Against Public Intoxication Charges in Texas: Sec. 49.02


At Houston Criminal Defense Attorneys PLLC, we understand that facing a public intoxication charge in Texas can be a stressful and confusing experience. Section 49.02 of the Texas Penal Code outlines the law regarding public intoxication, but knowing your rights and potential defenses can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Here’s what you need to know about defending against a public intoxication charge.


Understanding Sec. 49.02


1. Definition and Criteria for Public Intoxication


Under Sec. 49.02(a), a person commits an offense if they appear in a public place while intoxicated to the degree that they may endanger themselves or others. It's important to note that simply being intoxicated in public does not automatically result in a charge; the intoxication must pose a potential danger.


2. Public Places Include Licensed Premises


Sec. 49.02(a-1) expands the definition of a public place to include premises licensed or permitted under the Alcoholic Beverage Code. This means that bars, restaurants, and other establishments selling alcohol are considered public spaces under this law.


3. Medical Defense


According to Sec. 49.02(b), it is a defense to prosecution if the alcohol or other substance was administered for therapeutic purposes as part of the person's professional medical treatment by a licensed physician. If this applies to your situation, it can be a crucial element of your defense.


4. Classification of the Offense


Under Sec. 49.02(c), public intoxication is classified as a Class C misdemeanor, except as noted in Subsection (e). A Class C misdemeanor typically results in a fine of up to $500 and does not carry jail time, but it can still impact your record and future job and housing opportunities.


5. Not a Lesser Included Offense


Sec. 49.02(d) states that public intoxication is not a lesser included offense under Section 49.04, which pertains to driving while intoxicated (DWI). This distinction is important for understanding the specific charges and defenses relevant to your case. This is here because the legislature wanted to prevent people from asking for a lesser included offense instruction during DWI trials in County Court for misdemeanor DWI offenses.


6. Enhanced Penalties for Minors


For individuals under 21, Sec. 49.02(e) specifies that the offense is punishable in the same manner as an offense under Section 106.071 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code. Penalties for minors can include fines, community service, alcohol education classes, and license suspension.


Legislative History


This law was first added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, effective September 1, 1994. It has been amended twice:

- By Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1013, Sec. 12, effective September 1, 1997.

- By Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 68 (S.B. 904), Sec. 25, effective September 1, 2007.


How Houston Criminal Defense Attorneys PLLC Can Help


Facing a public intoxication charge can be daunting, but you don't have to navigate it alone. At Houston Criminal Defense Attorneys PLLC, we are dedicated to protecting your rights and providing a robust defense tailored to your case. Here are some ways we can assist you:


Evaluating the Validity of the Charge: We'll investigate whether your level of intoxication truly posed a danger to yourself or others, as required by the law.


Challenging the Definition of Public Place: We can assess whether the location of the alleged offense meets the legal criteria of a public place under Sec. 49.02(a-1).


Medical Defense: If applicable, we will use the medical defense provided under Sec. 49.02(b) to demonstrate that your intoxication was a result of prescribed medication.


Minimizing Penalties: For minors, we focus on mitigating the impact of penalties, aiming for solutions that emphasize rehabilitation over punishment.


Understanding this law helps residents and visitors in Texas recognize the importance of responsible behavior in public spaces and the potential legal consequences of public intoxication. Contact Houston Criminal Defense Attorneys PLLC today to discuss your case and explore your options for a strong defense.


Expunction of Public Intoxication Charges


If your public intoxication case is dismissed, you may be eligible for an expunction. An expunction is a legal process that allows individuals to have their arrest records and related documents removed from public records. This can be incredibly beneficial as it helps ensure that the charge does not impact your future opportunities, including employment, housing, and education.


What is an Expunction?


An expunction, sometimes referred to as an expungement, is a court-ordered process that erases a person’s criminal record in the eyes of the law. Once an expunction is granted, the individual can legally deny the occurrence of the arrest or charge on applications and during background checks, providing a fresh start.


In Texas, obtaining an expunction involves several steps and meeting specific legal criteria. At Houston Criminal Defense Attorneys PLLC, we guide our clients through this process to ensure all requirements are met and the petition is handled correctly. Here’s how we can help:


1. Eligibility Assessment: The first step is determining if you are eligible for an expunction. In Texas, you may qualify if your case was dismissed, you were acquitted, you were pardoned, or you completed a pretrial diversion program. Each situation has unique factors, and our attorneys will evaluate your case to confirm your eligibility.


2. Filing the Petition: Once eligibility is confirmed, our attorneys will prepare and file a Petition for Expunction with the appropriate court. This document must include detailed information about your arrest, the charges, and the outcome of your case. Accuracy is essential, and our experienced team ensures that all necessary information is correctly included.


3. Serving the Petition*: After filing the petition, we serve it to all relevant law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and any other entities that may hold records of your arrest. These entities are given an opportunity to respond or object to the petition.


4. Court Hearing: In many cases, a court hearing will be scheduled. At this hearing, we present your case and argue why the expunction should be granted. Our attorneys are skilled in advocating for our clients and addressing any objections that may arise.


5. Order of Expunction: If the court grants the expunction, an Order of Expunction will be issued. This order directs all relevant agencies to destroy or return the records related to your arrest and charges. Our team follows up to ensure compliance with the court’s order.


6. Post-Expunction: After your records are expunged, you can legally deny the occurrence of the arrest and the charges. We also provide guidance on how to navigate this new chapter, ensuring you fully understand your rights and the benefits of the expunction.


Why Choose Houston Criminal Defense Attorneys PLLC?


Expunctions can be complex and require a thorough understanding of Texas law. At Houston Criminal Defense Attorneys PLLC, we have the experience and dedication needed to help you navigate this process successfully. We work tirelessly to protect your rights and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.


If your public intoxication charge has been dismissed or if you believe you may be eligible for an expunction, contact us today. Our team is ready to provide the legal assistance you need to clear your record and move forward with confidence.

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