Whether or not it is illegal to be publicly intoxicated in New York depends on the particular situation. It is not illegal to be publicly intoxicated from alcohol usage, but it is illegal to be publicly intoxicated from drug usage. In fact, the latter could lead to a jail sentence of up to 15 days and a fine of $250 if the person is found guilty. However, according to the New York Penal Code, this is only the case if the person intoxicated from drug use is acting in a violent manner or being publicly annoying. In other words, while you cannot be arrested for merely seeming to be under the influence of a drug or narcotic other than alcohol in public, you certainly can be arrested if your behavior is violent or disruptive.
Protective Custody Laws
Additionally, it is important to note that it is legal for a police officer to place someone who is publicly intoxicated into protective custody, but only if the person consents. However, if the intoxicated individual is incapacitated and acting irrationally, the police officer does not need the individual’s consent to take him or her into custody. The police officer can take the intoxicated person either home or to a hospital. If the person is in poor condition, and it seems that he or she cause harm, then the officer must take the person to a hospital and have the person examined. If the doctor determines that the individual is possibly a danger, then it is legal for the individual to be maintained in protective custody for 48 hours maximum.
Stay Away from the Keys Even if You Are Not Driving
Finally, take extreme caution while being around your car while you are intoxicated. Even if you are not planning to drive your car while intoxicated, sitting behind the wheel with the keys in the ignition can cause you to be arrested for a DWI. The law judges this as possible intent and due to the seriousness of DUIs and DWIs, it may not matter if you were planning on driving while intoxicated.
Therefore, while it is not technically illegal to be intoxicated publicly from alcohol usage in New York, keep in mind that there are many subtleties to the laws that could still land you in trouble.
Contact Jason Steinberger
If you have been charged with a DWI, or any crime relating to public intoxication in which you believe you have been unfairly treated or charged, contact me, Jason Steinberger, and I would be happy to provide you with a free legal consultation. My number is 718-585-2833 and I can be reached 24/7. I take great pride in standing up for ordinary citizens and ensuring that they are aggressively and fairly represented in every situation.