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Public Drunkenness : A Primer for the Uninformed

The summary offense of Public Drunkenness is one of the citations most frequently issued to students at Penn State. The elements of the offense are essentially being found in a public place while manifestly under the influence of alcohol to the degree that one is unable to care for himself or presents a danger to others.

Students who significantly overindulge in alcoholic beverages will be routinely stopped by police officers on and off campus when they display an unsteady gait, present evidence of having incurred an injury from falling down or are insufficiently dressed for weather conditions.

The absence of disorderly behavior is irrelevant; only the location of the individual and the degree of his/her intoxication is of importance. Because a conviction under this section of the crimes code cannot be expunged for 5 years, it is very important for college students to, where possible, contest the charges and seek out an attorney who can best pursue a plea arrangement or if necessary a defense.

I have represented hundreds of students against these charges and would be pleased to consult with you or your student at no charge.

Refusing a breathalyzer test

People who refuse a breathalyzer test often face serious consequences because it is considered in many ways as an admission of guilt. You might face the suspension of your license or, in more extreme cases, face jail time.

It's important to remember that even if you refuse a breathalyzer test because you were worried about a bad result, officers on the scene will still be collecting other evidence that could prove you to be guilty of drunk driving regardless.

Furthermore, since driving is something that is done voluntarily and is a privilege, the law considers the act of driving implied consent for submitting to a breathalyzer test if law enforcement asks.

However, it has been reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that around 20 percent of those requested actually refuse to take the breathalyzer test.

If you are worried about the consequences that you might face if you refuse a breathalyzer test or if you have already refused a breathalyzer test, it's important to read up on your rights and seek legal guidance if necessary.

Source: Findlaw, "Can I refuse a breathalyzer test?," accessed Sep. 15, 2017

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