How Long Is Public Intoxication on Your Record in Texas?

Public Intoxication in Texas

Public intoxication is a misdemeanor that will remain on your record indefinitely until you fight, seal, or expunge it. Though the penalty is usually little more than a $500 fine, the ramifications might be severe. If you are accused of other offenses, the penalties can be more severe. Prospective employers, college admissions offices, landlords, and police officers all think you’re drunk in public. Rather than risk these serious LONG-TERM ramifications, it makes sense to talk with a Texas public intoxication lawyer to determine whether your charges can be dismissed, reduced, or wiped from your record.

Drinking a beer and acting belligerently does not always imply that the individual is legally “intoxicated.” Intoxication is defined as “the inability to use one’s normal mental or physical faculties as a result of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those drugs, or any other substance into the body.”

Public intoxication Texas Fines

In the state of Texas, public intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor. If you are found guilty of public intoxication, you could face a fine of up to $500. However, if you are also charged with other offenses such as disorderly conduct or criminal mischief, the fines can be much higher.

It is important to note that Texas law states that it is illegal to appear in public while intoxicated and not actually be drunk. This means that even if your blood alcohol level is below the legal limit, you can still be charged with public intoxication if police officers believe that your behavior indicates intoxication.

If you have been charged with public intoxication in Texas, it’s important to consult an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and ensure that your rights are protected.

Getting Public Intoxication Charges Dismissed in Texas

If you are charged with public intoxication, you will need a lawyer to assist you to establish a case. There are three main lines of defense:

You were not inebriated. You can defend yourself against a charge by stating that your “disorderly behavior” was caused by elation, enthusiasm, the adverse effects of a legally prescribed prescription, or nervousness.

You weren’t out in the open. The “public” component of public intoxication does not apply to you if you are technically on private land. Streets, parking lots, and parks can all be considered public spaces.

The cop who arrested you breached the law. When conducting an arrest, strict protocols and procedures must be followed. Officers may fail to have probable cause, conduct field sobriety tests properly, or advise detainees of their rights.

Why not contact a lawyer for free to discover if you have grounds for dismissal? Though the case against you is dropped, it will be as if the arrest never occurred in terms of your permanent record.

If you are not qualified for dismissal outright, your attorney can fight for delayed adjudication. The Court agrees to dismiss the public intoxication allegation IF you pay a fine of less than $500 and complete a probation period (such as 90 or 180 days) without being convicted of another criminal offense (not including most traffic tickets).

Getting Public Intoxication Charges Expunged in Texas

Having your public drunkenness record expunged (or removed from your record) is the next best thing to being completely dismissed. If you meet the following criteria, you may be eligible for public intoxication expungement:

  • Your arrest resulted in no criminal charges.
  • A judge or jury ruled you “not guilty.”
  • As part of your confession, you pleaded guilty and were offered a deal.
  • You followed the conditions of deferred adjudication for a class C misdemeanor.

If you commit a secondary violation soon after the first, you will most likely be found ineligible to have your public intoxication expunged. For a first-time crime, contacting a lawyer regarding expungement makes logical.

A competent criminal defense lawyer can assist you in putting together a defense that will give you the best chance of a good outcome, including challenging the initial arrest.


Public intoxication in Texas is no laughing matter. The state takes a hard stance against public intoxication and law enforcement will take steps to ensure that all citizens are safe from intoxicated individuals who may have the potential to cause harm. Though there are some exceptions, it is wise to heed the laws of public intoxication, as the punishments can be severe. It is especially important for those under 21 years of age to be aware of these laws, as they are strictly enforced due to underage drinking being illegal in Texas.

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