Some municipalities have strict laws against public intoxication and open containers on the streets. This can create a host of legal problems for you if you appear intoxicated and encounter law enforcement.

Sometimes, police will leverage charges of drunk and disorderly if intoxication is suspected. However, sometimes, rowdy or boisterous behavior can get you charged without your actual level of intoxication being very high.

If you’ve been charged, you may worry if it could have a negative consequence on your career or occupation. This may be especially worrisome for people in public-facing jobs or otherwise high-profile positions. Can you be fired over this charge?

With a strong defense, the impact is low

The good news is that it’s possible to fight a public intoxication charge. However, it’s also important to know that since the charges are a misdemeanor and stay on your permanent criminal record if convicted, they could potentially impact your job opportunities, according to studies. Of course, this is ultimately up to an individual employer to decide, but the legal ramifications can be minimized with a good defense to try and prevent a conviction from occurring altogether.

An attorney can help you build your case. Some defense options may include:

  • You weren’t intoxicated – in some cases, police may mistakenly charge you with being drunk and disorderly when you were, in fact, simply behaving in a more enthusiastic/energetic manner, such as during sporting events or other special events.
  • You weren’t intoxicated in public – if you were not in a place that is considered a public commons when a complaint was made or when you caught the eye of police, you may have a defense that you were either coerced into a public space so police could then charge you, or else that your alleged behaviors weren’t taking place in that public space to begin with.

In some cases, the prosecutor can’t collect enough evidence to support conviction and is forced to throw the case out entirely. It can be difficult to prove certain instances of public intoxication or disorder.

Your chances of clearing this with as little impact to your life as possible are good, especially when you have a strong defense and an experienced attorney working for you.