Under the California Penal Code § 647, Drinking in Public is considered a misdemeanor. However, a Drinking in Public charge is considered what prosecutors and attorneys refer to as a “wobbler”. A “wobbler” is a charge that can be tried as either a misdemeanor or as an infraction.
If your offense is classified as an infraction, it won’t go on your permanent record. This would be your ideal goal. If it is charged as a misdemeanor, it is more serious and will become a part of your permanent record.
Charges such as a Drinking in Public Ticket are beneficial to the person charged because it allows for negotiation and a strong argument made in your favor. An experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney can speak to prosecutors to reduce your sentence down to an infraction. This will allow you to pay a simple fine and avoid it going onto your permanent record.
You can appear on your own behalf in cases such as these, but it is not recommended. You will have one chance to present your case to the Judge. If the Judge is not convinced that the charge should be reduced, it may go onto your permanent record as a misdemeanor. Assure that you have the best possible chance in getting your charge reduced so that you avoid the hassle of such a simple charge on your record, and hire someone who can have it reduced if not dismissed.