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Public intoxication penalties

When you plan a night out, the legal consequences of your actions might not cross your mind. Many states punish public intoxication, meaning you could face penalties if your celebrations go too far. Arizona has a unique approach to this issue compared to other states.

Arizona does not have a specific law that makes public intoxication a crime. This means the police will not arrest or charge you for just being drunk in public. However, this lack of a specific law does not mean you can act without restraint. If you engage in dangerous or disruptive actions while intoxicated, you might violate other statutes.

Disorderly conduct

Disruptive or aggressive behaviors while intoxicated could result in disorderly conduct charges. If you pick fights or act rowdy, you might face these charges. When this misdemeanor offense happens, it can carry fines of up to $3,600, community service requirements and sometimes as much as six months of jail time.

Criminal nuisance

If your drunken actions inconvenience or harm others, you could receive criminal nuisance charges. This could involve actions like vomiting on someone’s property or obstructing a public pathway. Penalties for criminal nuisance might include fines and, in more severe cases, jail time.


If you enter someone else’s property while drunk, you might face trespassing charges. This can occur if you mistakenly walk into the wrong house or if a bar owner asks you to leave, and you refuse. Trespassing charges can result in various penalties, ranging from fines to jail time, based on the situation’s specifics.

Public safety concerns

Public safety remains a concern, even without a direct statute for public intoxication. If authorities deem you a threat to yourself or others because of your intoxicated state, they can take you into protective custody.

By staying mindful of your actions and behavior while drinking in public spaces, you can prevent legal complications and ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time. Always drink responsibly and recognize your boundaries.