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Disorderly Intoxication

Disorderly intoxication (commonly referred to as public intoxication or disturbing the peace) is a very common criminal offense in Florida. While the crime is a misdemeanor, repeat convictions can ultimately lead to an alleged offender being committed to a treatment center.

Furthermore, a conviction for disorderly intoxication will appear on a person’s criminal record. The presence of such offenses on a basic background check can often be a red flag that results in substantial hardships when it comes to obtaining employment, housing, or professional licensing.

Attorney for Disorderly Intoxication Crimes in St. Petersburg, FL

If you were arrested in the Tampa Bay area for an alleged disorderly intoxication, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. The Morris Law Firm, P.A. defends individuals throughout Pinellas County including Dunedin, Clearwater, Largo, and Pinellas Park.

Melinda Morris is a criminal defense lawyer in St. Petersburg who understands what weaknesses to look for in these cases because of her previous experience as an Assistant State Attorney with the Sixth Judicial Circuit. Call (727) 388-4736 today to receive a free initial consultation that will allow our attorneys review your case and answer all of your legal questions.


Overview of Disorderly Intoxication Offenses in Florida


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Disorderly Intoxication Charges in Pinellas County

In order to convict an alleged offender of Disorderly Intoxication under Florida Statute § 856.011, the state must prove either of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The alleged offender was intoxicated and he or she endangered the safety of another person or property; or
  • The alleged offender was intoxicated or drank any alcoholic beverage in a public place or in or upon a public conveyance and he or she caused a public disturbance.

Intoxication is defined under Chapter 29.1 of the Florida Jury Instructions as meaning “more than merely being under the influence of an alcoholic beverage.” It is defined as meaning that the alleged offender “must have been so affected from the drinking of an alcoholic beverage as to have lost or been deprived of the normal control of either his or her body or his or her mental faculties, or both.” Intoxication is synonymous with "drunk.”


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Disorderly Intoxication Penalties in St. Petersburg

Disorderly intoxication is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor. A conviction is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.

If an alleged offender has been convicted of this offense three times in the preceding 12 months, that person can be deemed a habitual offender. The court can then commit the alleged offender to an appropriate treatment center for a period of up to 60 days.

The definitions in Disorderly Intoxication cases can be extremely important as some of the most effective defenses often rely on a prosecutor’s inability to meet the statutory requirements necessary for a conviction. Some common defenses in these cases include, but are not limited to:

  • Lack of evidence of intoxication;
  • No endangerment to safety of people or property;
  • Alleged incident did not occur in public place or in or upon a public conveyance; or
  • Alleged incident did not constitute public disturbance.

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Florida Disorderly Intoxication Resources

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) | Pinellas County Intergroup, Inc. — AA describes itself as “a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.” Visit this website to learn more about the 12 steps of AA, the 12 traditions of AA, and the different kinds of meetings. You can also view the dates and times for meetings in the Pinellas County area.

Pinellas County Intergroup Central Office
American Business Center
8340 Ulmerton Road
Suite 220
Largo, FL 33771
(727) 530-0415

Jernigan v. State, 566 So. 2d 39 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990) — In May 1988, Carl Jernigan, a dispatcher for the City of Alachua Police Department, went to the police station while intoxicated and distraught over a relationship with a female dispatcher. He was asked to leave but returned later, throwing down his keys and sunglasses. When the police chief told Jernigan that he would be arrested if he did not leave, a scuffle ensued and Jernigan was arrested and later convicted for disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest with violence. The First District Court of Appeal, however, ruled that in order to sustain a conviction for disorderly intoxication, the state had to prove not only that a person is intoxicated but that the public safety is endangered. The Court reversed the conviction for disorderly intoxication, but affirmed the conviction for resisting arrest.


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Morris Law Firm, P.A. | St. Petersburg Disorderly Intoxication Defense Lawyer

St. Petersburg criminal defense attorneys Melinda Morris and Seth Shapiro of the Morris Law Firm, P.A. represent clients throughout Pinellas County, Pasco County, Hillsborough County, Manatee County, and Sarasota County. The Morris Law Firm can provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (727) 388-4736 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


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