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There are a few different laws under the Florida public drunkenness statute, including disorderly intoxication, loitering and allowing an open house party. Disorderly intoxication is probably the most common of these violations, and arrests predominantly occur at the many South Florida light life spots in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Thousands of tourists flock to these areas to party throughout the entire year, but holidays and spring break are especially popular. It’s not just tourists though, as residents of South Florida are generally out and about on weekends as well. If you have been charged with disorderly intoxication anywhere in Florida, criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Herbst will fight to have the charges dropped or dismissed. Under Florida law, disorderly intoxication is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor, which means a lengthy jail sentence in not likely for most offenders. At the same time, a conviction for disorderly intoxication could leave a permanent stain on a person’s background that could negatively impact school applications, job searches, professional license renewals and security clearances for years to come. Do not gamble with our future by going to court without an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Benjamin has successfully defended numerous disorderly intoxication charges in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County, and he is also an experienced Martin County and St. Lucie County criminal lawyer. He is available 7 days a week at (954) 543-0305 to offer a free consultation about your case.
Disorderly intoxication can be charged under two main scenarios. The first is being intoxicated and endangering the safety of another person or property, and the second is causing a disturbance while drinking in public or being intoxicated. There is no requirement that the state prove intoxication in the same manner as a DUI charge, so the level of intoxication is entirely subjective. It is also subjective whether the defendant was actually endangering the safety of another person or property or causing a disturbance. When crimes allow police officers this much discretion there are often numerous defendants who are wrongfully charged. Benjamin will fight to have these charged dropped before they are formally filed in court, which increases the odds they will never show up on a background check. If the state does file charges, Benjamin will continue to fight for a dismissal and will not hesitate to take the case to a jury trial if that is the best option. Benjamin has extensive experience representing out of state defendants, and works to make sure the challenge of dealing with a case in another jurisdiction is as stress free as possible.
Allowing an open house party is not as common as other criminal charges, but if police are called to break up a large party where minors are drinking or doing drugs, there is a pretty good chance an adult will be charged. Open house party charges apply to the homeowner or any other adult over the age of 18 that has control of a residence, including and apartment or condo. This law prohibits parties where minors are consuming alcohol or controlled substances. An adult who allows the party to happen or fails to take reasonable steps to prevent drug and alcohol use may be criminally liable and face second-degree misdemeanor charges. If a minor that was at the party causes death or injury to another person as a result of using drugs or alcohol at a party, the adult in charge of the house may face first-degree misdemeanor charges and possible civil liability. Benjamin Herbst specializes in representing defendants charged with open house party offenses in South Florida and the Treasure Coast, and can offer a free consultation anytime.
Loitering or prowling is another offense under the drunkenness statute that gives police a wide range of discretion to charge. As a result, there are far too many loitering charges than necessary, and many times these charges are used as a pretext to allow a search incident to arrest. The law requires a police officer to determine an immediate concern for the safety of the public or property in order to arrest a person for loitering. This is highly subjective, and an officer has the power to determine whether an immediate concern exists. The same is true for prowling offenses that involve offenders with prior convictions who are accused of being in close proximity to children. Benjamin fights for all clients charged with loitering and prowling in South Florida, and will do whatever it takes to secure a dismissal or acquittal. Contact Benjamin anytime to set up a phone consultation or to schedule an appointment in his Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach office locations.