California Penal Code §647 makes it unlawful for a person to be drunk in public. The statute states that any person:
“who is found in any public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, controlled substance, or toluene, in a condition that he or she is unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or the safety of others, or by reason of his or her being under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance, toluene, or any combination of any intoxicating liquor, drug, or toluene, interferes with or obstructs or prevents the free use of any street, sidewalk, or other public way.”
A drunk and disorderly conduct is charged as a misdemeanor. This means that if you get charged under California Penal Code §647 you would have a criminal charge on your record. With a misdemeanor charge, you are facing potential fines, probation and jail time.
Oftentimes, a misdemeanor charge may be reduced to an infraction. However, for the charge to be reduced it required negotiation and a strong argument to be presented to the Prosecutor. An infraction does not require any jail time. It only has a small fine associated with the charge. In addition, an infraction does not go on your record and is treated by the legal system like a traffic ticket.
If you have been arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct under California Penal Code §647, it is in your best interest to have the charge reduced.
A skilled Criminal Defense attorney will present the positive aspects of your case and bring up the weaknesses of the Prosecutor’s case to have the charge reduced down to a Disturbing the Peace, under California Penal Code 415. A disturbing the peace charge is referred to as a wobbler. A wobbler is a charge that can be charged as an infraction or a misdemeanor.
With the right argument presented by your attorney and the right defense, your charge can be reduced to an infraction disturbing the peace. It is in your best interest to hire someone who handles cases such as yours everyday. An experienced attorney will know the precise argument to bring to the prosecutor that will get you the best results possible. In addition, an experienced attorney will know the Judges, the prosecutors and the clerks and will be able to know exactly what the best argument will be for that specific courtroom.