Many people think of alcohol-related charges in terms of drinking and driving. However, it is possible to face charges related to intoxication without ever getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Unlike many other states, Arizona does not have laws against public intoxication. Nevertheless, a person who is drunk in public could face charges due to other offenses related to one’s behavior when under the influence of alcohol. Consuming alcohol can impair judgment and cause one to behave in a way that one would not when sober.
Drinking alcohol can lower a person’s inhibitions and make her or him more aggressive and belligerent towards others. Though Arizona does not criminalize public intoxication, it does prohibit behavior that is disruptive or dangerous to others. Using offensive or abusive language, playing music at an unreasonably loud volume or engaging in behavior that is seriously disruptive, such as fighting, are all potential examples of breaking the law by disturbing the peace.
Even if no one is around to witness it or if it happens in a dark area, urinating in public is illegal. UIP is a relatively minor charge for which authorities may only issue a citation. Grateful to avoid jail time, many people simply pay the fine and hope to put the incident behind them. However, this equates to admitting guilt to the charge, which then goes on the person’s criminal record.
Open container laws in Arizona apply to unsealed containers of “spirituous liquors” in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle. They apply not only to the driver of a motor vehicle, but to passengers as well. However, there are exceptions for passengers in vehicles such as motorhomes, limousines, buses and taxis.
Charges such as these can result in steep penalties, heavy fines and long-lasting consequences. For example, a charge of urinating in public can show up on a criminal background check when a person applies for a job.