Alcohol Offenses, Public Intoxication and Other Alcohol-Related Charges
Even as more serious crimes dominate the airwaves, the police in New York and other jurisdictions continue to enforce so-called “Quality of Life” offenses, and among the most common charges are those arising from the public consumption of drugs or alcohol, and related charges, including “Open Container” possession, public intoxication, and also urination in public. In many instances those charged with such offenses are given a summons and told to appear in court for a hearing on the charges.
Should someone just plead guilty to an alcohol-related charge?
Although one usually does not get an actual criminal record for pleading guilty to alcohol-related offenses such as “open container” or public intoxication charges, many times people still choose to fight the charges. There are sound reasons for fighting the case—in New York, for example, someone charged with Public Intoxication due to drug use can face up to 15 days in jail and a fine of up to $250. For a charge of “open container”, one can face up to five days in jail. But more importantly, while pleading guilty to such an offense does not give someone a criminal record, the court record of such a plea may be available to certain law enforcement agencies, which can then have other negative consequences. A court file may indicate that someone has previously pled guilty to an alcohol-related offense, and that can have ramifications that harm one’s future job prospects or otherwise damage their reputation.
Why hire an attorney for such a minor offense?
The police issue thousands of such summonses a year, and most people elect to just plead guilty and send in the paperwork with the requisite fine. However, a good attorney can fight the case and often win an outright dismissal. For example, because they issue so many of these summonses, police officers often make mistakes in their paperwork. An experienced attorney can often find these mistakes, bring the mistakes to the attention of the court, and win an outright dismissal of the charges. In many other instances, an experienced attorney who is respected by the presiding judge can make arguments on behalf of the client which will then lead to an ACD, or Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal, which means the case will be automatically dismissed in six months’ time.
Call today for a free consultation
There are many sound reasons why someone should consider fighting the charges when given a summons for seemingly-minor offenses such as Public Intoxication, Urination in Public, or Public Consumption of Alcohol. For a free consultation, call the Elliot Felig & Associates today at 212-828-2770.