As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I frequently emphasize how much riskier it is during certain holidays to get arrested for an alcohol-related offense. Holidays such as New Year's Eve, Cinco de Mayo, and especially today - St. Patrick's Day.
St. Patrick's Day originally started as a cultural and religious celebration every year on March 17th. St. Patrick's Day is primarily a public holiday in Ireland - however, we also celebrate the holiday here in Georgia. St. Patrick's Day festivals are the largest and most celebrated festivals in more countries than any other national festival.
For St. Patrick's Day celebrations here in the United States, most people celebrate with mass drinking. So much so that Irish people have been critiquing the holiday because of its now association with public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.
In today's post, I will outline these two offenses as there are more charges of disorderly conduct and public drunkenness on this day than any other throughout the year. This is largely because of the amount of people out drinking and celebrating combined with a heightened number of police presence aimed to control the large crowds.
Public Drunkenness in Georgia
Public Drunkenness in Georgia is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §16-11-41 as:
A person who shall be and appear in an intoxicated condition in any public place or within the curtilage of any private residence not his own other than by invitation of the owner or lawful occupant, which condition is made manifest by boisterousness, by indecent condition or act, or by vulgar, profane, loud, or unbecoming language, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
As the law states, public drunkenness is classified as a misdemeanor offense. This means that if convicted of public drunkenness then the penalty can include up to 12 months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
Disorderly Conduct in Georgia
Disorderly Conduct in Georgia is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §16-11-39 as:
A person commits the offense of disorderly conduct when he or she:
(1) Acts in a violent or tumultuous manner toward another person whereby such person is placed in reasonable fear of the safety of such person's life, limb, or health;
(2) Acts in a violent or tumultuous manner toward another person whereby the property of such person is placed in danger of being damaged or destroyed;
(3) Without provocation, uses to or of another person in such other person's presence, opprobrious or abusive words which by their very utterance tend to incite to an immediate breach of the peace, that is to say, words which as a matter of common knowledge and under ordinary circumstances will, when used to or of another person in such other person's presence, naturally tend to provoke violent resentment, that is, words commonly called "fighting words"; or
(4) Without provocation, uses obscene and vulgar or profane language in the presence of or by telephone to a person under the age of 14 years which threatens an immediate breach of the peace.
Disorderly conduct is also classified as a misdemeanor offense. Again, this means if convicted of disorderly conduct then the penalty can include up to 12 months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for an alcohol related offense this past weekend during St. Patrick's Day celebrations, contact a Georgia DUI Attorney today.