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Public Drunkenness - What is the Law?

With football season in full swing, every week fans are cited by the police for various infractions at and around the stadium. One of the most common citations received by tailgaters is Public Drunkenness and Similar Misconduct. A person is guilty of this offense if he appears in any public place under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance to the degree that he may endanger himself or other people or property, or annoy people in his vicinity.

It is obvious from the above language that the law encompasses a wide variety of behavior. This is one reason that individuals are cited with violating this law so often. Therefore, police officers have significant latitude when determining whether or not to cite an individual for being intoxicated in public.

The clear rule of thumb is to not overindulge to the point where you may endanger yourself or others or annoy those around you. Enjoying the pre-game and post-game festivities responsibly will prevent any unwanted confrontation with the police and allow you to enjoy the game without incident. However, if you become overly intoxicated and receive a citation, you should contact an attorney before entering a plea on the citation and sending it to the local magistrate. An attorney may be able reduce or eliminate the charge or charges. Contact our Pittsburgh law firm, Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, with any alcohol related concerns.

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Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, P.C.

1290 Freeport Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15238

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